Mayor of London Boris Johnson unveiling the plaque for the new brain cancer unit
The treatment of brain cancer care in the UK is on the brink of a revolution thanks in part to the work of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, Bloomsbury.
Brain cancer is a common cause of cancer death for people under the age of 40 but work is ongoing at the NHNN and its sister organisation the UCL Institute of Neurology, to bring renewed hope to patients.
To celebrate the hospital’s 150th anniversary, the Mayor attended an open event and unveiled a plaque for the Molly Lane Fox Unit - a new brain cancer unit which will be the first of its kind in the country when it opens early next year.
The unit will improve care and outcomes for patients with brain cancer. It will also support research projects and clinical trials to bring about advances in the basic science of brain tumour biology. During 2010, there will be eight new agent drug trials taking place.
The Mayor said: 'The pioneering work of the doctors and researchers in this unit will give hope to people with brain cancer and their loved ones.
'I hope the progress being made here to tackle this heartbreaking illness will help ease the trauma of treatment and am confident the new unit will provide the comfort and support patients need following a potentially devastating diagnosis.
'What is more, with new clinical drugs trials and numerous projects to help us better understand the biology of this disease, the work of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and University College London will help ensure the city remains a world leader at the forefront of the treatment of cancer.
Professor Mike Hanna, divisional clinical director for the NHNN said: “The outlook for brain cancer patients in 2010 is similar to that for leukaemia patients around 30 years ago when a diagnosis meant patients with an acute form of the disease had a poor prognosis. Now the vast majority of people with leukaemia survive.
“But the treatment of brain cancer is on the cusp of a revolution and central to that is the work underway at the NHNN.
“This is an incredibly exciting time. Whether it be the work of clinicians at the NHNN or academics at University College London, we are determined to make strides in the treatment of this devastating disease.”
As part of a package of care for brain cancer patients, the 12-bedded unit will be alongside a recently opened £14million advanced neuroimaging suite, a state-of-the-art imaging facility with three specialist MRI scanners and an interventional IMRI BrainSuite neuronavigation system.
The BrainSuite provides an angiography, MRI and surgical facility – unique to Europe – and enables real time scanning of the brain and spine during surgery to enable greater accuracy and better outcomes.
The National Hospital Development Foundation, a charity which raises funds for the NHNN, has provided more than £11 million towards these projects, fully funding the establishment of the Brain Tumour Unit which incorporates the Molly Lane Fox Unit and contributing £8 million to the cost of the scanner suite.