Grand Opera House York supports the Institute of Cancer Research

Grand Opera House York supports the Institute of Cancer Research

There will be a bucket collection at the Grand Opera House York during the run of EVITA, Tuesday 28 March – Saturday 1 April, the proceeds will go to an important new project at top ranked academic research centre in the UK, the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

Led by Dr Vivanco, the project will seek new treatments for people diagnosed with low-grade brain tumours, where currently options are few and largely ineffective. Brain tumours are still seen as a rare disease which means they are a low priority for research funding. In focusing on developing molecularly targeted cancer drugs, Dr Vivanco’s approach is set to benefit a broader group of cancer patients than ever before and beyond brain tumours alone. He is investigating the commonalities between different forms of cancer to contribute to the new generation of treatment options for cancer patients.

Dr Vivanco commented: “We worry about neglected areas for research and should spend money on understanding ALL cancers. The perception that cancer is one disease is false. But, if we can understand what cancer subsets have in common, we may be able to treat them with a common therapeutic strategy.”

“We don’t stay away from projects because they are difficult. They are interesting because they are difficult. We need to ask the hardest questions. These receive less funding. We need to take risks and be more creative.”

·        The project has the ability to make a massive difference – brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 and are the form of cancer to which the most life years are lost. Despite this, brain tumours receive disproportionally less funding compared to other tumours delaying the development of treatments..

·        Consequently, brain tumours have not yet benefitted from the attention given to other cancers which have shown welcome improvements in survival and quality of life. For brain tumour sufferers, the prognosis still remains extremely poor.

·        Low grade tumours are often described as a ‘time bomb’ because patients must live with the knowledge that they will become highly malignant. Dr Vivanco’s research is urgently needed, and has the potential to restore many years of life to these patients and their families.

Keith Waller, who has been bringing groups to shows here at the Grand Opera House York for many years, has a daughter, Elizabeth, who has a low-grade brain tumour; an Oligodendroglioma. This was diagnosed in 2010 when she was given a limited number of years to live in her mid-30s. Her parents commit a great deal of their retirement time to fund-raising for research into the causes and treatment of brain tumours.

Dr Igor Vivanco, PhD in Molecular Biology, Molecular Addictions Team, ICR

Case study of Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s diagnosis was made following a tonic–clonic seizure, a type of generalized seizure that affects the entire brain. She collapsed at home and was found by her husband who called an ambulance. Three days later she was transferred to King’s College Hospital where a tumour was diagnosed and a brain biopsy performed to identify its type.

Though Elizabeth’s tumour is currently stable following chemotherapy treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital, low grade brain tumours inevitably return and become increasingly aggressive. As a ‘diffuse’ tumour the cancerous cells invade a wide area of the brain where healthy cells are also present. For this reason and due to its size, the tumour is inoperable. Elizabeth now attends periodic MRI scans to monitor the tumour for growth. She gives attention to her lifestyle and is extremely positive about life. She wants to live a full life before her tumour starts to grow again.


Elizabeth Waller also supports the annual Bandanas for Brain Tumours event


Grand Opera House York

Tue 28 Mar-Sat 1 Apr

Performances 7.30pm, Wed, Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm

Tickets from £15

Box Office 0844 871 3024

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