Northern Ireland to share funding for cancer clinical trial specialists

NI will receive around £471,806 which includes funding for Senior Research Nurse Ruth Boyd in Belfast for the next five yearsNI will receive around £471,806 which includes funding for Senior Research Nurse Ruth Boyd in Belfast for the next five years
NI will receive around £471,806 which includes funding for Senior Research Nurse Ruth Boyd in Belfast for the next five years
Northern Ireland will receive a share of £5.9m to help patients receive ground-breaking new cancer medicines.  

​The money is being invested by Cancer Research UK to continue to fund a UK-wide network of nurses. Northern Ireland will benefit from around £471,806 which includes funding for Senior Research Nurse Ruth Boyd in Belfast over the next five years. She works closely with colleagues at Belfast’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) which runs clinical trials for people being treated for the disease.

Now Ruth is urging people to back life-saving research and sign up for Race for Life. She’ll join scientists and supporters on the start line at Race for Life Belfast at Stormont Estate on Sunday, May 26. Every year around 10,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland. Money raised at Race for Life enables scientists to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer - moving closer to a world where everyone can live longer, better lives free from the fear of the disease.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Race for Life events in Belfast which include a 5k and a 10K are open to all ages and abilities.

Ruth said: “We’re thrilled about this funding award as it’s going to support more clinical trials in Northern Ireland. Clinical trials are absolutely the bedrock on which we can find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. They offer the best path to new, more effective treatments for patients now and in the future.

"Being a Senior Research Nurse is a special privilege. I’d like to thank everyone across Northern Ireland who supports Race for Life. We couldn’t do our work without the unsung heroes who get out there and raise funds.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with headline sponsor Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, raises millions of pounds every year across the UK to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Senior Research nurses like Ruth play a critical role in helping people affected by cancer gain access to clinical trials which offer patients, some of whom have few remaining treatment options, the opportunity to try new therapies which, if effective, can be adopted more widely for others.

These roles act as a key liaison between researchers, health professionals and patients and help to both raise awareness of cancer clinical trials and support delivery of trials within the NHS.

Cancer Research UK currently funds 15 Senior Research Nurses across the UK, including Scotland, Wales, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge, Newcastle, Oxford and Southampton.

Anne Croudass, Cancer Research UK’s Lead Research Nurse, said: “We are delighted to announce this renewed funding for our Senior Research Nurses who perform an invaluable role in Northern Ireland and across the UK. This demonstrates our commitment to offering, and recruiting patients to, clinical trials wherever possible for patients with cancer. Clinical trials offer opportunities for new and more effective treatments for cancer and provide hope for patients now and in the future.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One ongoing clinical trial, which recently launched for people in Northern Ireland, is DETERMINE (Determining Extended Therapeutic indications for Existing drugs in Rare Molecularly-defined Indications Using a National Evaluation platform) which is the largest precision medicines trial ever funded by Cancer Research UK.

DETERMINE seeks to match people with rare cancers, or cancers with rare genetic faults, with existing medications already used to treat other cancers. If successful, those medicines could then be quickly approved to treat other patients with the same rare cancer across the UK.

Matching treatment to a specific patient is known as precision medicine, a growing area of cancer medicine particularly used in rare cancers or cancers with specific genetic faults which cause it to develop. CRUK-funded Senior Research Nurses have been critical in helping shape, facilitate and recruit patients to the DETERMINE trial across the UK.

Since it began in 1994, more than 10 million people have taken part in Race for Life, funding 30 years of hope and progress. Money raised has helped develop radiotherapy which benefits more than 130,000 people with cancer in the UK every year. Cancer Research UK funded scientists led the development of the Human Papillomavirus Virus vaccine, which is expected to prevent almost 90 per cent of cervical cancers in the UK. The charity also funded many large clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of the drug tamoxifen and the research shaped the way the drug is used to treat breast cancer today.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Andy Curran, Chief Executive of Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, said: “We are incredibly proud to continue as headline sponsor for Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, with the opportunity to encourage participation across the country. By working to raise funds for life-saving research, we can move towards a future where people live longer and healthier lives, free of cancer.”

Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Northern Ireland, said: “We are grateful to Ruth Boyd and all the researchers in Belfast for their support. No matter how cancer affects us, life is worth racing for. Sadly nearly one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Race for Life has the power not only to transform lives, but to save them. We’re proud that Race for Life has already helped double survival rates in the UK.

“We’d love for as many people as possible across Northern Ireland to join us at Race for Life. It’s a fun and achievable challenge for everyone and we mean everyone. Walk, jog, run or take on the course however it suits best. It’s a chance to feel the power of moving together with fellow Race for Lifers and have fun with it.

“Whether people are living with cancer, taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with cancer, in it for the medals or just for the fun of fundraising, there is a place for everyone.”

To enter, visit   


Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.