Members of the NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum were delighted and enthused to meet with researchers working on the Laser-hybrid Accelerators for Radiobiological Applications (LhARA) project. Back in August 2022 representatives of the NICRCF visited the School of Mathematics and Physics, QUB, where they met Dr Charlotte Palmer who co-ordinated a bespoke session including other members of the LhARA team – Professor Ken Long, visiting from Imperial College London and Professor Amato Giacca, who joined the meeting remotely, from Oxford University. The researchers described the role of ions in new developments in radiotherapy and explained the LhARA project was at a preliminary stage, but uniting UK researchers to advance this technology and increase understanding of radiobiology. The ultimate objective is to develop more effective cancer treatment with fewer side-effects. LhARA researchers are keen to work with patients/carers from across the UK throughout the lifespan of the project.
Members of NICRCF had a further opportunity to hear more about the role of QUB in this project when Dr Charlotte Palmer joined an on-line NICRCF meeting in September. QUB has a key role in the project utilising its laser-based particle accelerator to lead research on technology efficiency, reproducibility and radiobiology. NICRCF members asked about funding, collaboration and current PPI and the project aims to develop materials for further outreach. NICRCF look forward to future involvement in this exciting work.