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Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Awareness

Volume 659: debated on Tuesday 7 May 2019

13. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on recognising 17 May as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma awareness day. (910726)

The NHS long-term plan makes it clear that cancer survival is a Government priority, and we wholly support any activity to raise awareness of devastating cancers such as DIPG. The overwhelming message from two powerful debates last year, here and in the other place, spearheaded by the late Baroness Tessa Jowell, was that better outcomes for children and adults with brain tumours lie in better research. That is why we announced £40 million, over five years, to stimulate innovative brain tumour research, working alongside the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Research Mission.

As the Minister will be aware, having DIPG awareness day on 17 May is very important in raising the awareness of this fatal illness, which is often overlooked and where the prognosis has not improved in the past 40 years, despite 40 children in the UK dying from it each year. How will the people suffering from DIPG benefit directly from the funding that she has outlined? Does she commit to keeping the House updated on measures to combat this serious illness?

Let me begin by paying tribute to my constituent Paula Holmes, who made me aware of DIPG, and to all the work she has done in memory of her daughter Katy, one of the 40 children who died from it. We rely on researchers to submit high-quality research proposals in this difficult area, and the National Institute for Health Research has put out a highlight notice asking for research teams. We stand ready to translate any new discoveries as quickly as possible into new treatments and diagnostics for patients, and I am happy to keep the House updated.