In the News

John Fulcher laboratory marks 10th anniversary at Imperial College

PRESS RELEASE 18 /07/2019

This week saw the tenth anniversary of the John Fulcher Molecular Neuro-Oncology Laboratory at Imperial College, an event marking a major milestone in the history of the Brain Tumour Research Campaign (BTRC) that set up the lab in 2009.

Since its inception the brain tumour landscape has changed enormously with more research resulting in better treatment options for patients and a growing national awareness of this devastating condition.

BTRC co-founder Wendy Fulcher said: “It was really important for us to mark this 10th anniversary as it’s not only a major milestone in the history of the Brain Tumour Research Campaign but also the history of brain tumours.

“Our whole vision from the outset was to create a pipeline from lab to clinic, not just research for research’s sake but research that impacted directly on the patients, in effect research that was completely patient-centric. We have created a unique partnership in that there is such a close relationship between lab and clinic.”

It was a moving occasion for laboratory leader and senior research fellow, Dr Nelofer Syed who set the lab up. “It’s so exciting to celebrate the launch ten years ago and look back on our achievements,“ she said. “At the beginning we had very basic facilities but we now have more of them and a bank of tissue on which we can do real translational research.

“We have such a unique link with the clinical team at Charing Cross as we do work that directly benefits patients, rare because most scientists don’t have this connection and that is what drew me to this post as much as the passion of Wendy and her fellow BTRC co-founder Kevin O’Neill. Having this translational link is very rare for scientists and makes me even more enthusiastic and motivated about the work we are doing here and the future.”

In collaboration with Brain Tumour Research, Imperial College is now established as an international centre of excellence for neuro-oncology research.

BTRC clinical director, head of neuro-surgery and honorary clinical senior lecturer, Kevin O’Neill added: “In the early 2000s we had a great clinical set-up, a desire to make a difference, patients who were doing well in terms of outcomes and a lot of clinical material for analysis but we needed a lab.   

“So tonight is a seminal moment, a big development in brain tumour research at Imperial College as well as an important part of what’s been going on around the country helped by Brain Tumour Research’s national campaign to help focus funding bodies on this problem.  

“Ten years ago there was real frustration at the lack of available treatments, all we could then offer was radiotherapy and surgery. Wendy wanted to make a difference and I agreed with her to see what we could do. The brain tumour landscape has changed for the better and the John Fulcher Molecular Neuro-Oncology laboratory has been at the very heart of that transformation.”