Published Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Research into prostrate cancer at a unviersity lab. (© UTV)
Friends of the Cancer Centre, which is based at the heart of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, has partnered with the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen's University Belfast.
The charity will provide a £900,000 funding injection for research into clinical trials - medical research trials involving patients - over the next three years through an annual grant of £300,000 per year.
The monetary boost will allow the CCRCB to increase the clinical capacity of the specialist team that plans and delivers clinical trials, through a number of critical new staff posts.
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.
Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre
It will allow for further research and development of world leading cancer trials, 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 investment will fund a number of vital posts within the clinical trials team, including a clinical research nurse, research radiographer, senior data manager as well as dedicated pharmacy support.
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."
She added: "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."
Professor Joe O'Sullivan, consultant clinical oncologist at the Cancer Centre, said the large number of trials available to his patients would not be possible to achieve this without the support of Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Prof O'Sullivan is also head of clinical research programme in radiotherapy and prostate cancer at the CCRCB.
"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."
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