Cancer Research

Cancer Research

In Partnership with the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research at Queens University Belfast.

The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research is an internationally recognised research centre. Their mission is to improve patient outcomes, train the next generation of scientists/clinicians and enhance the competitiveness of the UK Life sciences sector.

Each year, over 9,000 people in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with cancer and this number is growing as our population ages. Brian was diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer in 2019.

Oesophageal cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the food pipe (oesophagus) grow in an uncontrolled way. Most people with oesophageal cancer are asymptomatic, and diagnosis is often late. Over the last 15 years there has been a 24% increase in oesophageal cancer in Northern Ireland. There is a direct correlation between funding and patient survival rates. At present only 6% of UK research funding is allocated to oesophageal cancer and as a result survival rates have changed marginally over the last 40 years.

Barrett’s oesophagus can increase the risk of cancer of the oesophagus and is present in 1-2 % of the population. Only 20% of those that have it will be diagnosed. Early detection of oesophageal cancer concentrates on detecting those in the high risk /bad Barrett’s category. Research has shown that by detecting Barrett’s early, cancer cases will be reduced by 50%.

As a result of the current covid pandemic, there is the added concern of a significant number of undiagnosed cases. In NI, during the first six months of the pandemic there was a reduction of 59.3% in oesophageal cancer cases. Early detection is now of even greater importance and the emphasis is on detecting high risk Barrett’s oesophagus through the development of a test.

To accelerate this early detection work, Queens University must invest in the appropriate resources. Therefore, the Brian Conlon Foundation is delighted to be given the opportunity to work with The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research to support the work already currently being done by providing additional funding into their cancer research teams, with a specific focus on early detection of Oesophageal Cancer. Further Details of this project will be announced on the 25th April both by the University and the Foundation.

To find out more information on what we have planned as initiatives and deliverables for this Pillar in 2022 please click here.

To get involved , contact or donate to the Brian Conlon Foundation click here.