Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme

Improving outcomes for brain cancer patients with personalised care, infrastructure and systems that aim to be universally accessible throughout the UK National Health Service.

Richard Mair Gary DohertyRichard Mair Gary Doherty

Mr Richard Mair, consultant neurosurgeon, with research technician Marc Dodd preparing samples for genomic sequencing by the Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme.
Integrating genomic information to improve brain cancer treatment

Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer, the treatment for which has remained largely unchanged for decades. The average length of survival is just 14 months from diagnosis. As a founding member of the UK’s Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, Minderoo Foundation has committed £1 million (A$1.85 million) with the goal to:

  • Improve our understanding of the molecular drivers of brain tumours changing the culture of clinical care.
  • Build the systems and infrastructure to deliver universal access to personalised care for patients with brain cancer.

The Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme, in partnership with the University of Cambridge, the UK National Health Service (NHS), and Illumina, is a landmark project providing brain cancer patients in the UK with access to a new level of innovation and excellence in treatment and care.

Improving access to personalised brain cancer treatment

The Programme aims to successfully integrate precision medicine, where genomic information about a person’s tumour is used to diagnose and plan targeted treatment, into routine care in the NHS clinical setting for brain tumour patients.

The Programme is currently recruiting patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to undergo groundbreaking treatment, with an initial target of enrolling 225 adult patients over three years. The ambition is that this pilot will expand to other NHS hospitals throughout the UK to pave the way for a new standard of care for brain tumour patients.

It will also enable researchers unprecedented access to detailed genomic data to identify potential therapeutic targets, develop new treatments and offer innovative clinical trials, aiming to change the statistics on survival for patients.

How the Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme works
  • Tumour and blood samples taken during surgery are sequenced to identify the genomic mutations present in the patient’s tumour. 
  • The sequencing results are returned within ten days and discussed at a genomics tumour advisory board meeting attended by clinicians, researchers and data analysts.
  • Patients have the potential for treatment to be tailored based on the sequencing results for their type of tumour and will have extra confidence that the treatment they are receiving is their best option.
  • The Programme will contribute to international data sharing initiatives to enhance our understanding of brain tumours while generating a model that can be adopted for routine rollout across the NHS.
Connecting the dots with the Universal Cancer Databank

The Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme is contributing genomic and clinical data to Minderoo Foundation’s Universal Cancer Databank, which stores de-identified cancer patient data, creating a platform to promote global collaborative research.

It is our goal that sharing the processes and insights gained with global partners, will help change the prognosis for brain tumour patients worldwide.


The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission acts as a convening body for researchers, clinicians, philanthropy, and patient advocates to collaborate and facilitate a national strategy for brain cancer care in the UK. The Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme works in partnership with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS East Genomic Laboratory Hub and Illumina.


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