Research

Research is vital in the fight against cancer and Friends of the Cancer Centre is the leading local cancer charity funding research right here in Northern Ireland.

Friends of the Cancer Centre is playing a major part in the fight against cancer through the various projects funded by the charity.  The charity is a proud partner with the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s University, investing over £1 million in the centre's work in clinical trials in recent years.  We also fund doctors who are heavily involved in research and lab technicians, as well as purchase vital equipment which allows some of the leading local scientists to carry out potentially life - saving work.

Most importantly, the money that we put into research stays in Northern Ireland and benefits local people.  Here are just some of the ways we are supporting cancer research locally.

Dr Phil Turner

Clinical Research Fellow

Dr Turner has been funded by Friends of the Cancer Centre for three years and his work focuses on researching new ways to treat advanced prostate cancer.  Dr Turner is currently working on the ADRRAD clinical trial alongside the charity’s trustee, Professor Joe O’Sullivan and Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Dr Suneil Jain.  The trial, the first of its kind in the world and one of the new generation of trials designed and implemented entirely in Belfast, seeks to combine several existing prostate cancer treatments in a new way, offering a highly targeted treatment option for advanced prostate cancer.

Dr Suneil Jain

Consultant Clinical Oncologist

Dr Jain is a senior oncologist in the Cancer Centre and as well as treating patients, Dr Jain is also heavily involved in prostate cancer research and in particular he focuses on new ways to deliver treatment to secure better outcomes for patients.  His current research focuses on exploiting prostate cancer’s sensitivity to large doses of radiotherapy, with the aim that this will improve cure rates in patients.

Clinical trials

Through our partnership with the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University, Friends of the Cancer Centre will invest nearly £1million into research over the next 3 years. The investment has allowed the CCRCB to recruit new staff to plan and deliver clinical trials.  The new posts will allow for further research of world leading cancer trials, an increase in patient recruitment numbers and ultimately improved outcomes for cancer patients.

Northern Ireland Biobank

The Northern Ireland Biobank collects and uses biological samples to support research programmes, including cancer research, in Northern Ireland.  Friends of the Cancer Centre has supported the Biobank since it was established, purchasing vital equipment and software.  We also fund Research Technician, Marc-Aurel Fuchs (pictured), who studies characteristics of cancer on the molecular level to look for cancer specific mutations.

Karen Crowther

R & D Radiographer

This post has been funded by the charity for over 15 years, with Karen taking up the post in January 2016. Karen will have a lead role in supporting continuous improvement and modernisation within the rapidly changing environment of the radiotherapy department. She will also focus on ensuring the radiotherapy department has the technical capability to support trials for local patients.

Bladder scanner

Friends of the Cancer Centre has purchased two bladder scanners for the Cancer Centre's radiotherapy department and they have become a vital piece of equipment when assessing patients.  The bladder scan devices are regularly used for patients who have urinary problems and allow medical staff to diagnose issues quickly and accurately.  The scan is painless and the reading is instantly available for the doctor or radiographer to assess.

Ultrasound probe

In 2009 Friends of the Cancer Centre purchased an ultrasound probe which is used by the medical team in the Cancer Centre to detect and treat prostate cancer and some gynaecological cancers.  The probe is an essential part of the brachytherpy (internal radiotherapy) service delivered in the hospital and the equipment has allowed staff to see and treat more patients, reducing waiting times as a result.

Ground-breaking prostate cancer trial

Friends of the Cancer Centre's funded staff, Dr Phil Turner and Dr Sueil Jain, have been supporting the development of a new trial, the first of it's kind in the world, aimed at extending the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer.  Led by Professor O'Sullivan, Queen's University and in partnership with the Belfast Trust, the ADRRAD trial will take place in the Cancer Centre over the next 18 months. Read more here.