July 9, 2014, by Emma Thorne

National award for innovative Nottingham researcher

A researcher at The University of Nottingham has received a national award for making an outstanding contribution to the field of neuro-oncology.

Dr Ruman Rahman, Assistant Professor in Molecular Neuro-Oncology in the University’s School of Medicine and a member of the University’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC), was unanimously selected by judges to receive the Award of Young Investigator from the British Neuro-Oncology Society Council.

It comes in recognition of research being led by Dr Rahman which is developing a polymer — originally designed to mend broken bones — which could be successful in delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to the brains of patients suffering from brain tumours. It is expected to go into clinical trial within three years.

The study shows that the biomaterial can be easily applied to the cavity created following brain cancer surgery and used to release chemotherapy drugs over several weeks.

The targeted nature of the therapy could also reduce the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs on healthy parts of the body, potentially reducing the debilitating side-effects that many patients experience after cancer treatment.

 Dr Rahman said:“I am proud to receive this prestigious award from my direct peers in the British neuro-oncology community. As a result of receiving the award I will be able to further engage the neuro-oncology community – nationally and internationally – and foster new collaborations. Ultimately, this method of drug delivery, in combination with existing therapies, may result in more effective treatment of brain tumours, so this is a welcome and timely boost for our investigations.”

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research which sponsored the award, said: “Brain tumours receive just 1% of the national spend on cancer research and a deeply worrying consequence of this poor research funding is that talented young researchers, otherwise inclined to work in the field, are deterred and end up leaving for alternatives where research spending is more plentiful and better coordinated.

 This award is designed to acknowledge the efforts of young research scientists, whose work is already adding enormous value to the sector and is leading the way towards breakthroughs, which will improve outcomes for patients. Dr Rahman’s study is truly groundbreaking and he has been quite prolific in his neuro-oncology research. We are delighted to see him receive this accolade.”

Brain Tumour Research is on a mission to raise £7 million per year in order to establish and fund seven dedicated Research Centres across the UK. Despite the advances in science and the growing opportunities for neurological investigation, brain tumours receive just 1% of the national cancer research spend – at this rate it could take another 100 years to find a cure. The charity is urgently calling for more fundraisers to help raise the millions needed to fund what researchers are calling ‘the last battle ground against cancer’.

Member charities of Brain Tumour Research fund programme and research projects at a number of centres in the UK, among them the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Dr Ruman Rahman is a previous holder of a Nottingham Advance Research Fellowship from 2010 to 2012.

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