Get Involved in Cancer Research at Imperial College London

Kelly Gleason from Imperial College London discusses the available opportunities for public participation in current cancer research.

By Kelly Gleason, Imperial CRUK Lead Nurse, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London

Cancer is a growing issue in our society; soon, one in two people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.  Cancer research is essential to help us diagnose cancer sooner and to develop kinder and better treatments to save more lives. At Imperial College London, we are dedicated to working with patients and members of the public to deliver excellence in cancer research.

In the Department of Surgery & Cancer at Imperial College London, many doctors and scientists research many different types of cancer, such as breast, bowel, prostate, lung, ovarian, brain, several blood cancers and many many more. They also have several cancer centres within the department that focus on cancer research in the lab and in hospital clinics.  Some centres at Imperial that do cancer research are:

The Imperial Biomedical Research Centre

The Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre which brings discoveries from the lab into clinical research.

The Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre, at which the researchers have more than one speciality, for example, an engineer with advanced knowledge of biology or chemistry.

The Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Patients treated at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital, Western Eye Hospital and Queen Charlotte Hospital are often invited to participate in research by taking part in a clinical trial or simply donating a blood sample or tissue.

At Imperial, we know it is important that we partner with patients to ensure our research matters to patients and that the research we are designing is research that patients would want to take part in.

This is called Public Involvement in Cancer Research, where patients, clinicians and researchers come together as equal partners to develop research studies.

What is Public Involvement in Cancer Research

“Research is being developed ‘with’ patients, carers and members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.”

Definition of Public Involvement in Research.

The partnership between patients, members of the public and researchers is essential in delivering excellence in research, and we offer financial compensation for people’s time in Public Involvement. 

We try to accommodate people’s schedules and accessibility requirements by hosting online and face-to-face opportunities to be involved, and we also offer training for those who wish to learn more about public involvement in general or just if they just want to learn more about a specific project that interests them.

What will you be asked to do if you do get involved?

You may be invited to get involved in different ways, some of which have been listed below:

  • Reading or reviewing a lay summary of a research study to make sure it is truly understandable to the public. You might be asked to review a lay summary of the study findings to ensure they, too, can be understood by the public.
  • You could be asked to attend a meeting to hear more about the research and comment on the relevance of the research to a cancer patient, the research design and how they plan on recruiting patients to the study.
  • You might be invited to be part of a focus group to discuss your experience of cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment.
  • You might join a study management team that meets throughout the study to ensure it is running well.
  • You may help the researchers find appropriate venues to share their research findings with patients and the public.

How do I get involved?

If you have been diagnosed and treated for cancer or cared for someone with cancer and would like to get involved with our cancer research, please contact Kelly Gleason, the Imperial CRUK Lead Nurse, at k.gleason@imperial.ac.uk. Kelly will reach out to discuss whether there is a specific area of research that interests you and how you wish to get involved.

Learn more about public involvement in research, access a free online training course in public involvement, or read the Patient Experience Centre Blog for Public Involvement to learn more about past projects.

To learn more about Public Involvement in cancer research before you make a decision, please contact Kelly Gleason k.gleason@imperial.ac.uk

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Daksha Chauhan-Keys

April 22, 2024

Hello, I was diagnosed with Cancer last year and would like to know more about Public Involvement in Cancer Research.

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