18 September 2023

Sheffield researcher aiming to find new treatments for devastating brain tumours features on BBC Lifeline Appeal

Research being led by Dr Ola Rominiyi aiming to find new treatments for glioblastoma has featured on the BBC Lifeline Appeal.


  • Dr Ola Rominiyi, Speciality Registrar in Neurosurgery at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is leading cutting-edge research aiming to develop new treatments for fast-growing brain tumours
  • His work, which is being funded by the Brain Tumour Charity, has featured on the most recent BBC Lifeline Appeal
  • BBC Presenter Nicki Chapman, who herself had a brain tumour diagnosis, said Ola’s work was “vital” in helping doctors better understand complex brain tumours


A Sheffield researcher aiming to develop new treatments for devastating brain tumours has featured on the BBC Lifeline Appeal

The BBC Lifeline Appeal film, presented by broadcaster Nicki Chapman – who herself had a brain tumour diagnosis – shows Dr Ola Rominiyi having a video call with a man from Dumfries in Scotland whose wife died from a brain tumour in 2019.

Dr Rominiyi, a Specialty Registrar in Neurosurgery at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Lecturer in Neurosurgery at the University of Sheffield, is conducting research into glioblastoma – the most aggressive type of brain tumour in adults.

In the film, he meets Alan Johnston whose wife Anneka was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2019 when their daughter Sienna was just a baby. Anneka died just six months later, aged 33.

A glioblastoma is a rare, but devastating brain tumour, affecting 3,000 patients in the UK each year, with patients typically surviving 12-15 months after diagnosis. There is an urgent need for new treatments as survival rates have improved very little over the last few decades.

During his surgical training at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Rominiyi regularly saw the devastation that fast-growing brain tumours like glioblastoma have on patients and families like Alan’s, and this inspired the trajectory of his career.

He has since secured significant research funding, published multiple peer-reviewed papers, and delivered national and international scientific presentations. He has also created a large biobank of samples used by researchers throughout the UK.

He is a Future Leader at The Brain Tumour Charity – receiving a grant of £224,000 for the next three years to research how different tumour cells repair their DNA to resist treatment.

With mentorship from Dr Spencer Collis, an internationally respected expert in DNA repair, and collaboration with world-leading single-cell sequencing researchers in the US and Israel, it’s hoped Dr Rominiyi’s research will help find more effective and kinder treatments than those used today, improving quality of life and prognoses.

Alan got some comfort from learning that the money he has raised from running The TCS London Marathon and other events will contribute to funding research like this.

He said: “Watching Anneka go through what she went through was so horrific. It was also awful for her, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to see our daughter Sienna grow up. She would have been an amazing mum and that was taken from her – it gives me nightmares.”

Dr Rominiyi also appreciated the opportunity to speak to Alan about his research.

He said: “It was an honour to speak to Alan and know that urgently needed research supported by The Brain Tumour Charity, including ours, gives hope for the future of glioblastoma treatment.”

In the piece BBC Presenter Nicki Chapman said: “The work of researchers like Ola is vital so that doctors can better understand this complex condition and hopefully find better treatments or even a cure.”

To watch Ola on the the BBC Lifeline appeal (available for the next 18 days) visit BBC One - Lifeline, The Brain Tumour Charity (starts 4.38)


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