A man, who feels he has no other option but to travel to Germany for brain cancer treatment, is calling on the Government to invest in research into the disease.

Laurent Keeble-Buckle, 47, of Corse Lawn, was diagnosed with a grade 4 astrocytoma in February 2022 after he had a grand-mal seizure out-of-the-blue. He had a craniotomy in April, followed by six weeks of combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

A month later, he had an additional six months of chemotherapy to combat the remaining cancer, exhausting the NHS standard of care.

During which time, his wife Louise, set up a crowdfunding page for immunotherapy treatment which is not currently available in the UK. Within three weeks, they had raised over £70,000 to fund the novel treatment in Tubingen, Germany.

Laurent, who has an 11-year-old son, is half-way through a course of 14 vaccinations, administered every six-weeks at CeGat’s facility in Tübingen.

The associate director at Interpath Advisory said: “I was told the average survival time for patients with a high-grade astrocytoma is just 12-18 months. However, 25% survive more than one year and 5% of patients survive more than five years.

“From that point, my wife and I spent hours searching for treatment options for patients diagnosed with the disease, wanting to give our everything to fight this problem. We felt forced to look online. We saw various options, most of which were overseas and now that’s our reality. I fly to Germany, have a course of injections and return the same day; reunited with Louise and our son Oscar, but it makes for a long day.”

Laurent added: “Throughout all of my treatment so far, I have felt lucky with the limited side effects I have encountered. Chemotherapy caused fatigue, regular sickness and a prolonged UTI over Christmas 2022, but so far that has been it. I have learnt that there isn’t a one size fits all (or even many) solution when it comes to treatment which makes research into the disease vital.”

In the same week he travelled to Germany for immunotherapy earlier this month, Laurent took part in a ‘grown-up’ sports day, organised by colleagues at Interpath. More than 100 colleagues and clients turned out to support the event which raised £3,850 for the charity Brain Tumour Research.

As well as fundraising, Laurent is now campaigning alongside the charity to help reach 100,000 signatures on its petition to increase research funding, in the hope of prompting a parliamentary debate.

The charity is calling on the Government to ring-fence £110 million of current and new funding to kick-start an increase in the national investment in brain tumour research to £35 million a year by 2028.

He said: “It’s been a steep learning curve since being diagnosed with brain cancer. There are two main facts that have stuck with me; that just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours, and that they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

“In the UK, brain tumours are insufficiently understood. We need more people to know about brain tumours so it can get the funding it needs to save our young people, and everyone touched by this disease and dramatically increase prognosis for those who are diagnosed.”

One in three people know someone affected by a brain tumour.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are grateful to Laurent for sharing his story and supporting our petition and helping to raise awareness.

“For too long governments have put brain tumours on the ‘too difficult to think about’ pile. Five years after the Government announced £40 million for brain cancer research, less than £11 million has been spent. Patients and families continue to be let down by a funding system that is built in silos and not fit for purpose.

“If everyone can spare just a few minutes to sign and share, we will soon hit the 100,000 signatures we need and help find a cure, bringing hope to families whose loved ones have been affected by brain tumours.”

To sign and share the petition before it closes at the end of October 2023, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/petition

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.