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New research to benefit patients with oesophageal cancer

Oesophageal cancer, one of the more difficult cancers to treat, has seen incidence rates increase by 65% in men and 14% in women over the last 40 years. (For statistics on oesphageal cancer see Cancer Research UK website)

HSC R&D Division has awarded a research fellowship to Dr Rosalie Douglas to carry out new research in this area.

We know that chemotherapy can help improve survival rates, but not all patients benefit from the treatment and many can experience significant side effects. Dr Douglas, who has received one of four research fellowships awarded by HSC R&D, will work with a team from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Queen’s University Belfast to try to understand why some tumours in oesophageal cancer do not respond to chemotherapy. This important work will help identify patients who might benefit from a course of chemotherapy and those who may not be suitable for this treatment. It is hoped that the research will lead to new treatments for oesophageal cancer.

Describing the importance of the HSC R&D Division fellowship awards, Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director, HSC R&D Division at the PHA, said: “These fellowships are an important step towards a research career for health and social care professionals. The stringent selection process examines the potential benefits that the study will bring to health and social care services, to service users and the public.”


HSC R&D Division has awarded 3 other research fellowships:

Leona Bannon will carry out research with patients in Intensive Care Units. These seriously ill patients have a high risk of developing delirium (changes in awareness and understanding) and she will investigate ways to reduce this risk.

Dr Jonathan Silverside’s research aims to find new ways to help the body to remove excess fluid, particularly in very ill patients who often receive a lot of fluids through drips as part of their treatment in intensive care.

Dr Andrew Boyle will try to understand why patients, who have been put onto a ventilator to help support their breathing, might get an injury to their lung. Dr Boyle’s research will help inform how to best prevent or reduce lung injuries which occur in this way which will hopefully lead to improved treatments.

HSC R&D Fellowships support early career professionals to understand how to undertake research in health or social care environments. These four successful research fellows all working within well-established health and social care research centres in Northern Ireland, have presented high quality research proposals, the results of which, will be used to improve future health and social care services in Northern Ireland. The fellows also have the opportunity to undertake an intensive and bespoke training programme to develop their expertise as HSC researchers.