Connecting researchers with patients
At the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre - including the CRUK Brain Cancer Centre of Excellence - we understand the importance of giving patients opportunities to participate, inform and feedback on our research. Connecting researchers to patients, local communities and wider society is one of our highest priorities.
The Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is well-integrated within its clinical setting at the Western General Hospital. One of our key strategies in patient engagement with our research begins with the training of NHS cancer nurses. As part of their continuing professional development research nurses are encouraged to visit the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre to increase their knowledge and understanding of early phase research and how this feeds into the clinic. The nurses have opportunities to meet with cancer researchers at the Centre, including those working in brain-cancer-focused areas such as brain tumour immunology and brain cancer drug discovery. Our researchers are often invited to visit hospital wards to meet patients.
We also work among our local community of patients and their loved ones. There is a dedicated Brain Cancer Patient’s Advocacy group led by clinical neuro-oncologist Dr Sara Erridge and neuro-surgeon Dr Paul Brennan. The group fosters engagement of brain cancer patients. The Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre hosts pop up stalls on a quarterly basis in the Edinburgh Cancer Centre clinic where patients attend to receive radiotherapy and chemotherapy. There, patients can find out about opportunities to join our patient involvement groups, recruiting clinical trials and hear more about our early phase research.
As part of public engagement activities, held both within the Centre and as part of local community events, our team regularly encounters current patients and cancer survivors. The Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is very active in offering engagement opportunities such as:
- Laboratory tours to see our facilities and meet our researchers
- Sharing unique “cancer journey” patients’ experiences alongside press releases regarding our latest research
- Participation in our research engagement events, such as being part of a panel discussion
- Joining our patient involvement groups
- Researchers’ visits to local cancer support groups