Patient Voice in Cancer Research III

Written by: Will Fitzmaurice
Written on: Thursday, 13 April, 2017

More than 100 cancer survivors and their families joined health care professionals, researchers, patient advocates, funding agencies and charity groups at an open forum in UCD on April 12th organised by SBI, UCD Conway Institute and BREAST-PREDICT Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre.

This was the third workshop in the Patient Voice series, with a continuing emphasis on placing survivorship at the heart of the research agenda and giving participants the opportunity to voice the questions and concerns that matter most to cancer patients and are likely to improve the relevance of cancer research.

After introductions from Prof. Cecily Kelleher, Principal, College of Health and Agricultural Sciences at University College Dublin, and the chair of the Patient Voice Committee Dr Amanda McCann, the first session focused on the question 'is there a clinical trial for me?' Led by SBI's Dr David Gomez and with expert input from Eibhlin Munroe (CEO, Cancer Trials Ireland), Derick Mitchell (CEO, Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science & Industry) and Dr Robert O'Connor (Head of Research, Irish Cancer Society), the session focused on how clinical trials are run, how they can be accessed and how to develop the Irish healthcare system so that all patients are given information and access in a consistent manner.

The second session saw patients turn pathologists as the workshop examined the potential for crowdsourcing histological scoring. Facilitated by Dr Aurelie Fabre (Consultant Histopatholgist, St Vincent's University Hospital) and Dr Amanda McCann (Head of Pathology & Director, UCD Centre in Translational Oncology) with support from SBI's Prof. Walter Kolch, Dr Melinda Halasz and Dr David Gomez, participants where led through a series of tasks to see how pathologists assess and score tissue samples. 


In his closing remarks, Professor Patrick Murray, Dean of Medicine & Head of UCD School of Medicine, said that the workshop shows there was much to consider for the future of cancer treatment in Ireland but he was pleased that the health precinct of UCD was uniting with the patient community in leading the way forward.