Internation Clinical Trials Day – ‘Be Part of Research’

To mark International Clinical Trials Day staff of the NI Cancer Trials Network and members of the NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum set up a clinical trials information area in the foyer of the Cancer Centre on Friday 17th May. Staff, researchers, patients and visitors were invited to write a comment as part of a new campaign launched by HSC R&D ‘Be Part of Research’.  As time went by the notice board was swiftly covered in messages.  Passionate support for research at the NI Cancer Centre was obvious, as was the active teamwork involved.  Research has made a difference and is making a difference in the lives of patients.  Research is how we improve our services, treatment and care, now and in the future.

Thank you to all who participated in the celebration!

Click here to view a slideshow of NICTN photos taken for Be Part of Research ICTD


Ovarian Cancer ‘Innovations in Research and Care’ Tuesday 18th June FREE PUBLIC EVENT

The Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network are pleased to announce that we will be holding another public information event!  Join us for this FREE public information event focused on Ovarian Cancer to listen to our wonderful speakers and learn more about ‘Innovations in Research in Care’.
It will be held in the Centre for Cancer Reseach and Cell Biology (CCRCB)  2-4pm Tuesday 18th June with information stands and tea/coffee available during the event internal. If you are interested or would like more information please contact Amy on 028 9063 8468 or email
Click the above image to enlarge the event poster
Please click on the link below to view further details of the event agenda

Margaret Grayson awarded MBE for Services to Cancer Research at Buckingham Palace

Margaret Grayson, Chair of the NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum (NICRCF), received an MBE at Buckingham Palace 5th February 2019. Margaret is a trailblazer in Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) in cancer research.  NICRCF Chairperson since the group was established in 2011, Margaret has demonstrated outstanding leadership.  She is an exemplary ambassador for PPI, working enthusiastically with healthcare professionals and scientists in cancer research, influencing research and PPI at local and national levels. She is a member of many com


mittees and research steering groups and she is a PPI workshop facilitator.   Margaret’s energetic and constructive approach always brings fresh insight and maximises patient benefit.

Margaret received the award from Prince William. The NICTN, NICRCF, HSC R&D, Cancer Research UK and all who know Margaret are delighted she has received recognition for her services to cancer research. Congratulations Margaret!!


Creating a Brighter Future Together – NICTN and the NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum Celebrate Cancer Research and PPI at Event to Launch new PPI Strategy

The NI Cancer Trials Network (NICTN) and NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum (NICRCF) wish to thank everyone involved and all who joined them at their new Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) Strategy launch event 26 March 2019 in the Belfast City Hospital.

While looking ahead to the future, the event was also a celebration of current local cancer research and successful partnership working. Margaret Grayson (NICRCF Chairperson) welcomed everyone and Margaret and Ruth Boyd (CRUK Senior Nurse and NICTN/ECMC PPI Professional Lead) kicked-off the presentations with a profile of PPI, an overview of the work of the NICRCF and a review of the new strategy’s goals.  The goals are to:

  • further embed a culture of partnership working in cancer research
  • provide sustainable support for the NICRCF to enable PPI in cancer research to grow
  • maximise the impact of PPI through best practice and standards


The strategy is now out for consultation until the end of June 2019 – all comments are very welcome!

The agenda for the afternoon also covered developments in treatment and care across a range of cancers.

Mr Stuart McIntosh (Clinical Senior Lecturer, QUB, Consultant Breast Surgeon, Belfast Trust, Acting Clinical Director NICTN) explained that clinical trials were available across Northern Ireland, co-ordinated by the NICTN. Stuart explained that within breast cancer research there were several themes that were evident:

  • de-escalation of treatment – to minimise unnecessary side-effects
  • precision – to ensure treatment is tailored to an individual’s specific tumour
  • increasing collaboration across professionals and including patient representation
  • increasing patient expectation to receive clinical research options as part of standard practice
  • During a refreshment break the 85 people attending the event, from across Trusts, universities, charities, patients and public, had the opportunity to access information from a number of services, charities and research funders, alongside information from the NICTN and NICRCF. We are very grateful for the information stands and representatives of:
  • NICRCF members Hazel Carson (BRCA Link NI and CIBRAC study Trial Management Group) and Dr Sandra Irvine, PPI representative in regional and national bowel cancer research groups, joined Stuart and Philip on a panel during a Q&A session. Members of the audience asked questions leading to discussion about bowel cancer screening availability, the role of a PPI representative, national developments in bowel cancer research and breast cancer trials.
  • Dr Philip Dunne (Lecturer in Early Cancer Detection, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen’s University Belfast) outlined the development of bowel cancer at tumour and cellular levels, highlighting how molecular profiling of tissue in the laboratory is enabling the development of personalised treatment. Biomarkers can help to predict an individual’s sensitivity to particular treatment, helping doctors select treatments for patients with most benefit and fewer side-effects. Philip also emphasised the value of bowel cancer screening in early detection.
  • A number of studies were outlined in the settings of prevention, ductal carcinoma in-situ, early invasive breast cancer, post-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy before surgery. Stuart advocated the value of patient representative membership in the study management groups for the trials he was leading on.
  • HSC R&D
  • NI Biobank
  • Friends of the Cancer Centre
  • OGCancerNI
  • Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI
  • Belfast Trust PPI
  • Macmillan Information and Support Centre
  • Cancer Research UK

Dr Ciaran Fairmichael (Clinical Research Fellow, QUB, ST6 Clinical Oncology Doctor, NI Cancer Centre, Belfast Trust) provided an encouraging overview of how local cancer trials were having a positive impact on outcomes for men with prostate cancer. Ciaran described early results from the ADRRAD and SPORT trials and explained how these treatment advances are transforming care in Northern Ireland.

NICRCF member Kate Burns was the next speaker. Kate provided a very moving and eloquent personal insight into her husband Paul’s experience of life with prostate cancer until, sadly, Paul died in 2014.  Kate described the transition of ‘person to patient’ and the significance of holistic care throughout treatment, research and palliative care.  Paul had shared his story at a NICRCF public event back in 2012, so the NICTN/NICRCF were particularly delighted and humbled that Kate spoke at this event.

Dr Olinda Santin concluded the presentations with an honest and enjoyable description of the valuable impact involvement of NICRCF members had on a project to develop support for carers. Through these discussions the project changed direction, resulting in the development of a website, designed with and for carers.  This website ‘Cancer Caring Coping’ has already been adopted internationally and provides a unique and accessible resource for carers.

The event concluded with a final Q&A panel, where Ciaran, Kate and Olinda were joined by NICRCF members Ken McBride and NICTN Operational Director Dr Melanie Morris. Melanie thanked speakers and along with Kate highlighted how valuable the carer website would be. Questions from the audience lead to discussion about treatments for prostate cancer available in Northern Ireland, and Ken described why he had taken the decision to participate in a clinical trial.

Margaret concluded the event and many attendees took copies or summaries of ‘A Strategy for PPI in Cancer Research in Northern Ireland’ or other information.

The NICTN and NICRCF were delighted with the positive reaction of the audience to the event. Comments received included:

  • Fascinating to learn about scope of clinical research in NI & hear from doctors, patients and other affected people
  • High quality of the presentations and guest speakers
  • Patient story was really helpful in understanding contribution & PPI modifying research
  • Kate Burns’ talk was very moving- an inspirational representative for the forum
  • Olinda’s website is incredibly useful
  • Current prostate cancer research very informative and the emphasis on carer resources
  • Evaluation was also unanimously positive, frequently describing the event as excellent.


Some Speakers and Panel Members (Lt-Rt) Back Row: Mr Stuart McIntosh (BHSCT/QUB), Dr Philip Dunne (QUB) Front Row: NICRCF members – Kate Burns, Sandra Irvine, Margaret Grayson, Hazel Carson and Dr Olinda Santin (QUB)


Speakers Dr Olinda Santin (QUB) and Dr Ciaran Fairmichael (BHSCT/QUB)












Click the links below for more pictures fom our event!

Strategy event pictures 1 

Strategy event pictures 2







NICTN/NICRCF Strategy for PPI in Cancer Research – 3 month consultation

Following a successful strategy launch event on 26 March 2019, the NICTN/NICRCF welcome feedback on their new 5 year strategy document for PPI in cancer research in Northern Ireland.  The consultation period will close at the end of June 2019.  We look forward to hearing from you. 

Click here for the latest PPI Strategy



Tuesday 26th March ‘Cancer Research in Northern Ireland: Creating a Brighter Future Together’

Public Information Event ‘Cancer Research in Northern Ireland: Creating a Brighter Future Together’

Join the Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network and Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum in a celebration of Personal & Public Involvement (PPI) in research and local research success. A new strategy for PPI in Cancer Research will be launched at this event. Please see flyer below for more details.

Contact Amy at 028 9063 8468 for registration.

All welcome!

Click to enlarge^

Click this link to see the finalised agenda













‘Extending the Reach of Partnership’ – Annual Report published on website

 ‘Extending the Reach of Partnership’ – Annual Report published on website

The NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum and NICTN are pleased to announce the Forum’s 2015/2016 annual report is now available on the website (to view the report simply click on this  link ). We hope you enjoy this review of a very active year for the Forum.  As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.


ADRRAD prostate cancer trial patient tells his story – see video

Click on the link to ‘David’s Story’ and scroll down to see a short video featuring Mr David Livingstone speaking about his participation in the ADRRAD study.  ADRRAD [Neo-adjuvant Androgen Deprivation Therapy, Pelvic Radiotherapy and RADium-223 for new presentation T1-4 N0/1 M1B adenocarcinoma of prostate] is a clinical trial led by Professor Joe O’Sullivan, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) / NI Cancer Centre.  In this Movember video Professor O’Sullivan describes the research endeavour to develop new ways to help men with advanced prostate cancer.  The ADRRAD study is co-ordinated by the NI Cancer Trials Network/Belfast Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, and recruitment is nearing completion.  The NICTN and the team of doctors, research radiographers and Trust and University staff involved wish to thank all the men like David who are taking part in this study. 

The study is sponsored by Belfast HSC Trust and funded by Bayer PLC and the Friends of the Cancer Centre.




Dr Ciaran Fairmichael win’s first prize for SPORT study presentation

Dr Ciaran Fairmichael

The Queen’s University School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Postgraduate Research Forum was on 9th November at Riddel Hall. The early results from the SPORT trial were presented by Dr Ciaran Fairmichael as a poster which was selected for oral presentation and went on to win 1st prize. The poster describes the early results from the trial which is co-ordinated by the NICTN. The results presented suggest there is benefit in combining stereotactic prostate radiotherapy, a technique that allows delivery of prostate radiotherapy in only 5 treatments instead of the usual 20-37 days of treatment, with an injected spacer gel to protect the lower bowel. Translational work within the trial looking at blood biomarkers to test for early signs of radiation toxicity was also presented.

Congratulations Ciaran!