A CAMPAIGNER from Southend has welcomed the “wonderful news” a cannabis-based drug will be used to treat brain tumours in a world-first trial.

Karen Benham, 43, has been backing The Brain Tumour Charity’s campaign to raise £450,000 to launch the trial ever since she lost her mum, Susan, to glioblastoma - an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Karen shared her story in an effort to promote the fundraising campaign, and with the money secured in just three months, the world’s first major trial will launch in March 2022.

“Although it is too late for my mum, it is truly wonderful news that this trial will be going ahead in the hope that it could help others in the future,” she said.

“The fact that something positive could come out of something so negative as losing my amazing mum brings me great joy.

“I would give anything to have been able to spend longer with my mum, especially as she was approaching the end of her life.

Karen lost her mum earlier this year after she was diagnosed with a large glioblastoma.

Susan had been misdiagnosed for several months after countless visits to the GP which began back in 2018.

By the time she was accurately diagnosed, the tumour had formed long and large tendrils around her brain.

She was only able to undergo radiotherapy due to the speed with which her tumour was growing and was given just months to live.

Susan died at Haven’s Hospice on March 28 this year while Karen held her hand.

Karen said: “Mum really was so determined to beat the tumour and she would have done anything to live for a little bit longer.

“She wanted one last everything before she knew that she was going to die and she never once moaned about the treatment. I think she would have welcomed the option of other treatments if they had been available, but they weren’t. Any advances which could make a difference to those diagnosed with this horrific type of brain tumour would be great.”

The trial, which will be led by University of Leeds researchers, will assess whether adding Sativex, which is an oral spray containing cannabinoids THC and CBD, to chemotherapy could extend life for thousands with a recurrent glioblastoma brain tumour.

The drug, which is already used to treat multiple sclerosis, was initially found to be tolerable in combination with chemotherapy with the potential to extend survival in a trial in 27 patients with a glioblastoma earlier this year.

Dr David Jenkinson, Interim CEO at The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We know there has been significant interest among patients and researchers alike for some time about the potential activity of cannabinoids in treating glioblastomas.

“We’re really excited that this world-first trial here in the UK could help accelerate these answers and are so grateful to so many across the world who are helping us make this study possible.”