Dr Lucy Stead is Associate Professor in Brain Cancer Biology at the University of Leeds, with a focus on glioblastoma.

"Glioblastoma (GBM) is currently incurable. It’s the most common, most malignant form of adult brain cancer. My job as a researcher is molecularly profiling cancer tissue. When compared to normal tissue, this can identify molecules that drove formation of the cancer, for example looking at promising drug targets.

With glioblastoma, this hasn’t yielded effective therapies, so I take a unique approach and look at how tumours change over time. It’s impossible to surgically remove all of a brain tumour and, despite subsequent chemoradiation, GBM tumours almost always grow back. I look at the differences in the recurrent tumour in order to identify drugs to stop it resisting treatment. To do this requires pairs of tumours, which are incredibly rare.

So, I went to tissue banks around the country, but needed funds for the profiling. In 2014, I reached out to Leeds Hospitals Charity to explain my idea and they funded me £40,000. Other scientists heard about my work. I joined an international consortium, leading to bigger grants and the discovery that we can split patients into subtypes. This led to being awarded £1.57m funding. None of this would have happened without Leeds Hospitals Charity funding that preliminary work."

Don’t underestimate the speed technology changes. They didn't put man on the moon until the day they put man on the moon. Research gives the ability to give hope to patients - that there will be a better future. Funding opens doors; it only takes one to open.