Investment of nearly £1 Million set to boost local cancer research

22/01/2014

Cancer patients in Northern Ireland are set to benefit from a landmark investment of nearly £1 million in cancer research from Friends of the Cancer Centre, it was announced today.

The Regional Cancer Centre based at Belfast Trust’s City Hospital, has partnered with Friends of the Cancer Centre, and the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s University Belfast to provide a £900,000 funding injection for research into clinical trials – medical research trials involving patients - over the next three years.

This investment will allow for an increase in patient recruitment numbers by consultants and clinical academics within the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital and ultimately improved outcomes for cancer patients. The increased capacity of the clinical trials research team will allow for further research and development of world leading cancer trials an increase in the capacity of the specialist team that plans and delivers clinical trials, through a number of critical new staff posts.

Professor Joe O’Sullivan, consultant clinical oncologist at the Cancer Centre and head of the clinical research programme in radiotherapy and prostate cancer at the CCRCB, said: “As a clinical researcher, I am very keen to have a large number of trials available to my patients and it would not be possible to achieve this without the support of Friends of the Cancer Centre.

“From the patient perspective, this investment is also hugely significant. I see people every day who are faced with a life changing diagnosis and whilst for many the outlook is good with treatment, others need major improvements in our currently available treatment options. This is where clinical trials come in. I have seen first-hand how a trial can impact and often improve a patient’s outlook. This is very exciting for me as a consultant, especially when the trial is home grown and developed in Belfast, but most importantly this can be life changing and indeed lifesaving for the patient.”

Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said: “This is not a donation in our eyes; this is a financial investment in the future of local cancer research and in the future of cancer care in Northern Ireland.

“Northern Ireland has become a world leader in cancer care and the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital provides the highest level of treatment available. Northern Ireland, through the team at CCRCB, has been at the forefront of the drive to find the latest and best ways to treat all kinds of cancer and clinical trials have become a vital weapon in this. As a charity whose focus is on supporting those affected by cancer, we recognise the potential that lies in clinical trials and the direct benefits they can have on a patient’s life. For us, this investment is also hugely important as this is not money that will disappear into the often unseen world of cancer research, as it will directly impact people affected by cancer, here and now.”