Congratulations to Dr Cherith Semple – Queen’s Honour for Services to Nursing

Dr Cherith Semple

NICTN warmly congratulate Dr Cherith Semple on her recent and very well-deserved award of an MBE for services to nursing.  Cherith was appointed to the role of Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist in Head and Neck Cancer in 1999 and in 2006 completed her PhD exploring post-treatment needs of patients with head and neck cancer and developed a psychosocial intervention.   Based at the South Eastern HSC Trust, Cherith has worked with the NICTN in clinical research in the field of head and neck cancer, and is very active in research relating to her interest in survivorship and post-treatment quality of life issues for patients.

NICTN deeply saddened by the sudden death of Professor Patrick Johnston

The staff of NICTN are deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely death of Professor Patrick (Paddy) Johnston on 4 June 2017.  Professor Johnston, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, provided unparalleled vision and leadership in cancer research in Northern Ireland.   His work has received national and international recognition.

After he took up the post of Professor and Head of the Department of Oncology, QUB, in 1996, Paddy was the driving force behind the establishment of the NI Cancer Clinical Trials Unit in 1999, which became the current NICTN.   He also led on the grant to establish the Belfast Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.  He was instrumental in the development of the US National Cancer Institute/All-Ireland Cancer Consortium and supported international collaboration, including specific training programmes in cancer clinical trials, which benefited a great number of staff, researchers and patients.

He was a tireless advocate for the development of the NI Cancer Centre, which opened in 2006, and he established the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology in QUB, which opened in 2007, creating a comprehensive cancer centre model in Belfast, for which he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Award in 2012.  Paddy was a member of many national and international research committees and bodies.  His own research programme was in the field of bowel cancer and emphasised translational research.

Throughout Paddy’s clinical and academic life he promoted excellence, a patient/carer focus, teamwork, multi-professional working, education, collaboration and relationships across all sectors and boundaries, to the benefit of patients and the wider society.  NICTN are indebted to his dynamic and inspirational leadership and his ceaseless striving for clinical and translational research to be embedded as an integral component of healthcare.  Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Iseult and his family.  The greatest tribute that we can offer him is to further his vision and legacy by continuing to promote and deliver excellence in clinical and translational cancer research.

International Clinical Trials Day – A Celebration of Cancer Research Partnership

The NI Cancer Trials Network (NICTN) based at the NI Cancer Centre celebrated International Clinical Trials Day 19 May 2017. The event highlighted the importance of partnership working for research success. NICTN staff joined forces with members of the NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum and supporting charities to raise awareness among staff, patients and the public, highlighting:

  • HSC R&D ‘OK to Ask about Clinical Research’ Campaign
  • Seventy cancer research studies currently open to recruitment
  • Opportunities for patients and carers to work in partnership with researchers

Staff, patients and visitors expressed their support for clinical research at an information stand in the NI Cancer Centre foyer. Several patients acknowledged their appreciation for research to bring advances in treatment and care.

Renewal of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre Status

NICTN are delighted Belfast has received renewal of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) status following an international review process. Belfast ECMC is a collaboration of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, QUB, and Belfast HSC Trust. This brings together science and early phase clinical research to support innovative treatments to transform patients’ lives.   Belfast ECMC is jointly funded by HSC Research and Development Division and Cancer Research UK.   Belfast ECMC integrates fully with the wider ECMC Network, comprised of 20 Centres within the UK.