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The Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX is a first-of-its-kind clinical trial platform that will enable researchers to collect a rich genomic, pathological and imaging dataset to provide patients and clinicians with a fully integrated diagnosis of their disease. The end goal of this platform is to accelerate the development and delivery of brain tumour clinical trials and provide greater access to novel targeted treatments and improved outcomes for patients, both in terms of survival and quality of life.

This study has been named the Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX in honour of the late Baroness Tessa Jowell, who bravely shared her diagnosis of a brain tumour on her 70th birthday. Following that revelation Tessa used her influence as a former minister to work towards 'more people living longer better lives with cancer'. She was a strong advocate for adaptive clinical trials and for enabling people to share their data to improve the understanding of these terrible diseases. Both of these ideals are the core foundations that were also driving our researchers when they developed this core trial platform with the support of The Brain Tumour Charity and Genomics England. 

The Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX is one of six strategic working programmes in the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, which brings together passionate academics, doctors, members of cancer charities, patients, and other individuals to help facilitate a new national strategy for brain tumours. 

Whether you've been diagnosed with a brain tumour, or it's a family member or friend, The Brain Tumour Charity are here to help. We offer a wide range of inclusive and accessible services for everyone affected by a brain tumour, whether it's low or high grade, adult or child. Our services for adults are designed to support people living or caring for someone with a brain tumour.

Professor Colin Watts, Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Birmingham, gives an overview on The Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX, a newly announced adaptive platform trial for glioma patients.

Birmingham in Action is bringing together 14 charitable projects to tackle five key challenges faced by our generation and the next. One of these is brain cancer research, which includes the Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX. The Birmingham Brain Cancer Programme aims to get more patients into trials, and grow models of their disease from their own tumours to test new drugs and treatments on. Find out how you could help diagnose brain cancer earlier and find new treatments to beat it.

For Participating Sites

Information for hospitals.

About the study

Find out more about the study and how to get involved.


University of Birmingham:

University of Edinburgh:

University of Oxford:

PPI Representatives:

  • Dr Helen Bulbeck
  • Peter Buckle

Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX in the news

The clinical trial protocol for the Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX Platform Study has been published in the journal BMJ Open

Professor Colin Watts, Chair of the Birmingham Brain Cancer Program, is putting together Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX trial to develop better drugs and improve the quality of life for patients with brain cancer. 

  • Leading neurosurgeon highlights importance of brain tumour research, (University of Birmingham), 25 October 2019

Professor Colin Watts, Chair of the Birmingham Brain Cancer Program, highlights the importance of brain tumour research.

Funding of up to £2.8m from The Brain Tumour Charity has been awarded to a University of Birmingham researcher for a major study named in memory of the late Baroness Jowell.


Watts, C, Savage, J, Patel, A, Mant, R, Wykes, V, Pohl, U, Bulbeck, H, Apps, J, Sharpe, R, Thompson, G, Waldman, A, Ansorge, O, Billingham, L, 2022, ‘Protocol for the Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX Platform Study’, BMJ Open, vol. 12, no. 9, e067123

Contact us

BRAIN MATRIX Study Office,
Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU),
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT
Email: BrainMatrix@trials.bham.ac.uk 

This study is supported by the The Brain Tumour Charity and Genomics England

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