Research Update | June 2022
Men’s Health: LIAM MC Trial
Cancer treatment can be difficult for men, as are the common physical and emotional complications arising from this including everything from weight gain and muscle loss, to sleep disturbance, continence issues and erectile dysfunction.
Those affected by these potentially debilitating issues often do not know where to turn for help as the relevant supports may not be part of their standard hospital care, leading to huge unaddressed burdens for men in this group.
For the first time an Irish-based trial awarded to University College Cork is attempting to link men to supports in a hospital setting that can help them to live full and fulfilling lives during and after cancer treatment.
The Irish Cancer Society LIAM MC Trial (short for Linking In with Advice and supports for Men impacted by Metastatic Cancer) will see selected participants engage in a 12-week programme that aims to meet their health and wellbeing needs on a holistic basis beyond standard treatment.
The Cork University Hospital-based research trial will see men receive specialist nurse and dietician support weekly, as well as twice-weekly physiotherapy sessions to empower them to maintain physical activity so important for quality of life. This will be complemented by access to social work and psychological supports to ensure their practical and emotional as well as physical needs are met.
The trial will be run with the oversight of Consultant Medical Oncologist Dr Richard Bambury and Lecturer Practitioner in Nursing Dr Brendan Noonan, and will be based out of the hospital’s purpose-built, state of the art cardio rehab gym.
The two-year pilot initiative is the result of a €300k funding commitment awarded to University College Cork from the Irish Cancer Society as part of its continued efforts to address crucial survivorship issues for cancer patients, and encourage associated service improvements, as well as supporting Irish cancer research.
The initial phase of the LIAM MC Trial commencing in September will focus on men with genitourinary cancer malignancies – cancers of the urinary and reproductive system such as prostate, bladder and testicular cancer – with selected eligible patients referred by their hospital teams.
Participating men will receive an assessment at the beginning of the 12-week programme and at the halfway point once they have begun receiving supports, and again at the end of the 12 weeks and six months afterwards to evaluate its effectiveness.
Participants will rate their quality of life through a survey at the end which will be assessed across criteria including maintenance of weight, muscle mass and strength, as well as fatigue levels, physical function and cardiovascular fitness.
Should the approach prove successful in improving quality of life among trial participants, it is hoped to roll the model out to many more categories of male cancer patients in hospitals nationwide as a new standard of care.
The multidisciplinary team behind the trial will also have the benefit of experience-sharing with their Cork-based colleagues involved in the Irish Cancer Society Women’s Health Initiative, amid a flourishing research culture in the south of the country.
Translational Summer Studentship Announcement
The Irish Cancer Society are delighted to announce that it has awarded Shanu Xavier and Mark Leahy the Translational Summer Studentship Award 2022.
Shanu Xavier, University College Dublin
My name is Shanu Xavier. I have just completed my first year of Graduate Entry Medicine at the University College Dublin. Throughout my undergraduate experience, I made it a priority to be involved in research and wanted to continue that during my medical studies. This is because research in clinical medicine is integral to creating and implementing novel therapeutic methods. Cancer has always been an area of great interest to me, particularly ones with poor prognosis. As a result, I decided to apply for the 2022 Translational Summer Studentship to study the therapeutic resistance seen in pancreatic cancer. My project aims to create a hydrogel system mimicking collagen present in tumour tissue. The clinical applications of these hydrogels can improve survival and quality of life of pancreatic cancer patients. Specifically, they can be used to assess patient-derived cancer cell behaviour in response to combination therapeutics targeting both the collagenous stroma and the cancer cells. Ultimately this work will contribute to the identification of new approaches to treat pancreatic cancer. I hope to be a part of the positive impact the Irish Cancer Society has made in many communities across Ireland through aiding in improving the clinical outcome for these patients.
Mark Leahy, University College Cork
My name is Mark Leahy and I have just finished my third year of BSc Medical and Health Sciences in UCC, a course geared towards translational laboratory research. I have a passion for research. I am the Co-Chairperson of the UCC Medical Research & Technology society and have previously been a student researcher in the UCC Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Since my Transition Year placement in Breakthrough Cancer Research Cork, I have developed a keen interest in learning about cancer biology and emerging methods of treatment.
This prestigious scholarship from the Irish Cancer Society will enhance my skills and support me as I aim towards a PhD in cancer research. Triple negative breast cancer is the most aggressive and difficult to treat form of breast cancer. This is because these cancers do not possess the cell surface proteins typically targeted by cancer therapeutics. Patients with this type of breast cancer therefore have few treatment options. My project aims to use mRNA to increase the expression of the HER2 protein. This will allow for the use of conventional therapeutics in triple negative breast cancer, opening up many new avenues for these patients. This project may also enhance the effectiveness of existing therapeutics in other cancer types, and will be a demonstration of the potential of mRNA in the treatment of cancer.
EU Funding Opportunities
The second Cancer Mission Info Day took place on Tuesday 17th May. A recording of this launch can be found here (Cancer Mission starts at 1:33).
This informative session focused on the next phase of missions as part of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. Joining efforts across Europe, the Mission on Cancer together with the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan will provide better understanding of cancer, allow for earlier diagnosis, optimize treatment, and improve cancer patients’ quality of life during and beyond their cancer treatment.
As part of this info session they outlined key recommendations as part of Cancer Mission WP2022:
- Proposals will be evaluated on scientific merits – see each call evaluation (sub)criteria for details
- Proposals must consistently aim at involving other disciplines and sectors, beyond business as usual
- Applicants should budget for networking activities whenever relevant
- Citizen and patient engagement: civil society, patient and caregiver organisations and communities should be consistently addressed and involved in the proposal. Consider the inclusion of patient advocacy organisations.
- Mission topics must include end-user engagement. This includes cancer centres, national and regional health authorities and services, local communities etc.
**Developing interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, international teams must start in advance of preparing applications. Fostering collaborations through networking is crucial to a successful, innovative project proposal.
To support researchers in Ireland in their applications to European funding schemes, the Irish Cancer Society has therefore launched a new call this summer, the EU Cancer Research Collaboration Award. This award looks to aid in the interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral aspect of research projects, by providing a mobility budget of up to €10,000 to support international networking collaboration initiatives. Deadline for applications is Thursday 18th August 2022 at 15.00.
Cancer Mission 2022
There is indicative budget €126m for 5 topics which opened on the 24 May 2022 and which will close 7th Sept 2022:
- Towards the creation of a European Cancer Patient Digital Centre: HORIZON-MISS-2022-CANCER-01-04
- Strengthening research capacities of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures: HORIZON-MISS-2022-CANCER-01-02
- Improving and upscaling primary prevention of cancer through implementation research: HORIZON-MISS-2022-CANCER-01-01
- Pragmatic clinical trials to optimise treatments for patients with refractory cancers: HORIZON-MISS-2022-CANCER-01-03
- Establishing of national cancer mission hubs and creation of network to support the Mission on Cancer: HORIZON-MISS-2022-CANCER-01-05
Innovative Health Initiative
The first calls in Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) open on 14th June 2022, with a budget of approximately €160 million. Background information can be found here.
IHI plans to launch two calls for proposals at the same time – one single stage call, and one two stage call. Draft topic texts have been published in advance of the official call launch to give potential applicants additional time to start building a consortium and drafting a proposal, with two cancer-specific single stage calls at the links below:
IHI call 1 (single stage call)
- Next generation imaging and image-guided diagnosis and therapy for cancer
- Personalised oncology: Innovative people-centred, multi-modal therapies against cancer
Cancer research funding opportunities can be found on the Funding and Tenders Portal, in particular:
Open Call Announcement: EU Cancer Research Collaboration Award 2022
We are pleased to announce that the Irish Cancer Society is now accepting applications for our latest call, the EU Cancer Research Collaboration Award 2022.
Detail of the call
The Irish Cancer Society’s EU Cancer Research Collaboration Awards aim to support excellent Irish-based cancer researchers in all disciplines, to foster and grow international collaborations by providing a travel grant to support a period of mobility. A key aim of this award is to promote collaborative relationships that can be built on in applications for international funding schemes, particularly Horizon Europe, EU4Health, Digital Europe and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, with the goal of strengthening their applications to international funding schemes in future.
All eligible applications will be reviewed by an international scientific panel. Applications are accessible through the Irish Cancer Society Gateway Grant Tracker online system. This is a maximum award value of €10,000, with a duration of a minimum 1 month.
Full details are available on our website.
Deadline for applications: 3pm Thursday 18th August 2022.
We would really appreciate if you could circulate the information on to relevant and interested people and groups.
For any queries relating to the call, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Call Announcement: Cancer Research Networking Awards 2022- Round B
The Irish Cancer Society Cancer Research Networking Awards offers cancer researchers the opportunity to establish and strengthen collaborations and relationships with national and international cancer researchers. This programme will give researchers at any stage of their career the opportunity to learn about up-to-date cancer research, network and collaborate, and to gain experience in research dissemination.
The aim of this award is to contribute towards the cost of networking initiatives, training activities, or the development of collaborations or partnerships (attend or host a workshop, conference, training or any other networking activity) which will help stimulate, develop, and build capacity in the cancer research community. These awards are intended to support motivated individuals who would not otherwise be able to undertake these activities.
There are two funding strands available: one for researchers from a translational cancer research background and one for researchers from a social science, nursing, and allied health background.
Applicants can apply for funding up a maximum of €2000. The number of awards made will be dependent on number of applications received and total budget requested in each. Each applicant may only submit one application for this round.
Please see the relevant guidance documents on our website for eligibility criteria and for more information.
Round B is now open for applications. The deadline for all applications is 3.00pm, Wednesday 24th August 2022. Applications are accessible through the online grant management system https://grants.cancer.ie
Please ensure that you are using the correct application that is relevant to the specific field of your research.
Open Call Announcement: Information into Evidence for Action Award 2022
Applications are now open for the Information into Evidence for Action Award 2022.
Through this award, the Society aims to provide funding to evaluate and identify how an evidence-informed cancer intervention/service can be most effectively introduced into the Irish Health System. We welcome applications proposing any methodology that will result in achieving the outcomes of the project, for example, an actions research, mixed methods research etc. Eligible applications should be seeking to provide a foundation for integration of an intervention/service into routine care. The development phases of the intervention should be complete or near completion. The award will not fund any phase of developing an intervention.
Outcome of the project:
- To identify barriers and enablers of cancer interventions implementation in the Irish public health system
- To identify all stakeholders and key decision makers integral to the effective implementation of cancer interventions in the Irish public health system
- To generate an evidence-based procedure for implementing a cancer intervention in Irish public healthcare settings
- To generate a series of recommendations and learning from the study
- To identify mechanisms of sustainability for the next stages of implementation
The Information into Evidence for Action Award will provide funding of up to €50,000 and the estimated project timeline must be between 12-18 months. The intervention/service may focus on a specific cancer type or be more general in focus e.g. children’s, adult, or geriatric cancers etc. Additionally, proposals may focus on various public service settings e.g. hospital, community services, acute oncology services, etc.
Application Deadline: 15.00 GMT Thursday 18th August 2022
Full award details can be found on our website.
Open Call Announcement: Patient Advocate in Cancer Research Champion Award
The purpose of the Patient Advocate in Cancer Research Champion 2022 is to provide funding to support cancer advocates in championing cancer research on a national or international level. Applicants for the award must be able to show that receiving funding will be of benefit to not only their own development but will also have an impact on the wider cancer research PPI community in Ireland.
At the Irish Cancer Society, we recognise the value of having patient experts and people who are affected by cancer involved at every stage the research funding process. These cancer advocates play very important roles and are instrumental in improving the lives of those affected by cancer by advising on what types of cancer research will benefit those who are affected by cancer.
Therefore, the purpose of this award is to provide advocates in cancer research with funding to enhance their skills and training or to support them in cancer research PPI opportunities across Ireland.
You do not need to be a member of the Irish Cancer Society PPI Panel to apply for this award. This call is open to all cancer research advocates in Ireland.
Please see the relevant guidance documents on our website for eligibility criteria and for more information.
The deadline for all applications is 3.00pm, Thursday 1st September 2022. Applications are accessible through the online grant management system https://grants.cancer.ie. Please ensure that you are using the correct application that is relevant to the specific field of your research.
Please note; if you would prefer to be sent an application form to complete the application by hand, please contact email@example.com at least 2 weeks ahead of the closing date.
Open Call Announcement: Clinical Trials Catalyst Award
A key priority in the Irish Cancer Society strategy 2020-2025 is ensuring that Irish patients
benefit from world-class cancer research and expertise. Central to this focus is fostering and
cultivating clinical trial research to ensure that Irish cancer patients have access to excellent cancer treatment, research and leaders who will drive innovative, evidence-based improvements in patient care.
As part of this commitment, the Irish Cancer Society wishes to invite eligible research-active clinicians, primary care physicians, dentists, nurses, and allied health professionals in oncology-related fields to submit an application for the Clinical Trials Catalyst Award 2022.
The aims of the Award are to:
- support activities necessary to evolve an existing clinical trial or the development of a clinical research project;
- drive patient accrual in cancer clinical trials and studies;
- support the career development of the clinical researcher through protected time specifically to focus on the initiation of a clinical trial.
All applications must be submitted through the online grant management system, https://grants.cancer.ie, by 3.00pm, Wednesday 17 August 2022.
Irish Cancer Society Funded Cancer Research Engagement Event- Digital Surgery
Ireland’s first digital surgery unit at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital is conducting research into digital surgery, including the study and analysis of surgical operations. Improvements to technologies allow clinicians in this unit to access more information which in turn helps to improve the bowel surgeries that they perform. Digital surgery allows surgeons to apply and integrate these new technologies during clinical surgery. This can also be used to tailor surgery to different people.
With the support of the Irish Cancer Society, the digital surgery unit conducted a PPI engagement event to share information with patients and the public as to the nature of this work. The national event, attended by over 35 delegates took place in the impressive venue of Croke Park.
An important dimension to the event was small focus groups designed to recognise patient experience in research and to gain insights from patients regarding research priorities. Medical students gained exposure to PPI and engagement by participating as scribes, embedding the importance of PPI in the next generation of clinicians.
Delegates and faculty alike provided very positive feedback on the event. Findings from this event will be shared, and the team in the Mater hope that similar events will be arranged in the future.
In Discussion with Dr. Dearbhaile Collins - Cancer Clinical Trials: The Cornerstone of Cancer Treatment
A clinical trial is the process that medicine uses to identify new ways of treatment and diagnosis that lead to improved outcome and survival for people with cancer. Cancer survival continues to improve in Ireland and every single advance and treatment that has contributed to this improvement came from a clinical trial. Not all trials are positive and not every trial will identify an advance but even being treated in a hospital that is involved in research and trials is known to help ensure a generally better outcome for patients.
The clinical cancer research landscape in Ireland is underdeveloped. Annually, only a small proportion of patients are able to take part in clinical trials across the country. Many patients and loved ones know little about trials, what it means to be on a trial and the work of cancer researchers in Ireland that make trials possible.
As part of International Clinical Trials Day, Dr. Dearbhaile Collins, an expert in cancer clinical trials from the Cork Cancer Trials group and Cancer Trials Ireland, joined us to discuss and explain these areas.
Dr. Collins has a wealth of experience in all aspects of Cancer Trials and also receives support from the Irish Cancer Society through our Clinical Research Leadership Award to help her develop new cancer research areas.
Her webinar explores what cancer clinical trials are, why they are important in improving cancer care here in Ireland and what it means to be involved.
The webinar can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m92dSfV5m0c
Personalised Exercise Rehabilitation in Cancer Survivorship
As the numbers of cancer survivors continues to increase, attention must now focus on quality of life in cancer survivorship. Growing scientific evidence shows that exercise and physical activity can help patients to manage many cancer and treatment related side-effects, increase physical fitness and improve psychological wellbeing. Exercise rehabilitation is therefore promoted as an important part of the cancer care pathway, however in Ireland we have a lot of work to do to increase access to exercise rehabilitation services and to ensure that people are referred to appropriate services based on their own individual needs.
Dr. Emer Guinan is an Irish Cancer Society researcher from the Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute. Her work examines personalised approaches to exercise prescription in people living with and beyond cancer. During this webinar she discusses the benefits of exercise in cancer survivorship and explains why exercise rehabilitation should be incorporated into the cancer care pathway. Emer discusses the ongoing work from two Irish Cancer Society funded projects – the ExMet project which examined exercise participation in patients living with bone metastases and how this related to quality of life and risk of fracture, and the recently funded PERCS programme which will develop an exercise referral pathway to support personalised exercise prescription and physical rehabilitation for cancer survivors in response to COVID.
The webinar can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-D9GSsvuvE
Research Study – Call for participants
What #research topics should be prioritised in cancer care for older adults?
Inviting people who have been affected by or care for people with #cancer to share their views on this important subject. See details below. @IrishResearch @druryal @UCD_Research
- Research Support Officer (Academic Study Co-ordinator), Cancer Research @UCC and Clinical Research Facility | University Vacancies Ireland
- Research Assistant, Cancer Research @UCC | University Vacancies Ireland
- St. James's Hospitald Dublin hiring Grade V Officer – Genomic Associate in Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland | LinkedIn
Articles of Interest
- Multiomic characterisation of high grade serous ovarian carcinoma enables high resolution patient stratification - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Counting the social, psychological, and economic costs of COVID-19 for cancer patients - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Living with or beyond lymphoma: A rapid review of the unmet needs of lymphoma survivors - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Consensus statement on the surveillance of patients with gastrointestinal malignancies - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Telehealth Delivery of a Multi-Disciplinary Rehabilitation Programme for Upper Gastro-Intestinal Cancer: ReStOre@Home Feasibility Study - PubMed (nih.gov)
Dates for the diary
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line
If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.
Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
For more information
1800 200 700