Belfast Telegraph

Praising our cancer research

By David Waugh

Cancer survival rates here are now among the best in the UK. In 1997, Northern Ireland was at the bottom of the survival table; today we are near the top.

More than 50 people are walking around Northern Ireland each year who would previously have succumbed to cancer.

This marked improvement is largely thanks to the Queen's-led Comprehensive Cancer Services programme – a hugely successful collaboration with the Department of Health and health trusts, supported by the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

This evening, we are inviting the public to a free event at Riddel Hall, Stranmillis Road (5.30-7.30pm) to find out how ground-breaking research in Belfast is improving patient outcomes.

From the development of a new drug that inhibits the growth of tumours by starving them of oxygen, to the discovery of new cancer diagnostic tests and implementation of state-of-the-art radiotherapy programmes, Queen's is leading the way in cancer research.

More than 300 researchers from across the globe are contributing to scientific and clinical research programmes at Queen's. Our goal is to provide knowledge of the disease to enable early and improved diagnosis and discover new rationale-based treatments.

The Molecular Pathology Laboratory, a partnership between Queen's and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, is a nationally acclaimed example of how academia, healthcare and industry work together.

This laboratory is providing genetic knowledge of a patient's tumour, enabling oncologists to decide the best treatment to offer that patient. More than 1,000 people being treated each year in Belfast are benefiting.

Our teams are setting important questions, the answers to which will have the greatest impact on patient care. The value of research in Belfast is already having an impact locally and globally. Our continuing research will help detect, inform and improve treatment for the cancer patients of tomorrow.

  • Professor David Waugh is director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's University Belfast

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