4th February 2023

Investing in the Future of Lung Cancer Research – World Cancer Day exclusive

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Lung cancer research has been at the core of our charity since the day it was founded. Professor Ray Donnelly started the foundation because no one would invest in lung cancer research and, for the past 33 years, we have remained as focused and as committed to research as ever.

This is why we are delighted to announce our latest commitment to lung cancer research with the James Brokenshire Lung Cancer Research Fellowship.

In memory of James, and a celebration of our shared dedication to improving outcomes for lung cancer, the James Brokenshire Lung Cancer Research Fellowship will help develop the next generation of lung cancer researchers who may hold the key to improving long term survival of the world’s biggest cancer killer.

The fellowship will be kindly funded by Cathy Brokenshire, with support from his family, friends and colleagues.

“I am delighted to be part of the charity’s ongoing commitment to lung cancer, and I know James would be too,” says Cathy.

“James understood the importance of lung cancer research and the vital role it has in saving lives. His initial early diagnosis meant we got more time together and whilst it wasn’t long enough, I am so grateful for those precious years. It is more than so many get.

But it is my hope that by pledging to raise the money to fund the next generation of lung cancer researchers, more and more families will not just get years, but decades together.

Cathy Brokenshire

Starting in 2012, our clinical research fellowships have enabled clinical registrars to become national leaders in lung cancer care in the UK.

The main focus is to train the fellow in health service research methods, audit/clinical improvement methods and clinical aspects of lung cancer with a view to developing into a knowledgeable advocate for people with lung cancer, who are then able to push forward service improvements effectively.

Paula Chadwick is the chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation:

“We are proud to have a longstanding reputation in investing in the future of lung cancer research. Our lung cancer fellowship grants have been funding the next national leaders in lung cancer for many years and we are delighted that, with Cathy’s support, we are able to continue this essential work.

“We have seen so much progress in lung cancer, but we need to ensure that further advances continue to be made. We can only do that by investing in the development of future lung cancer researchers.”

To date, the charity has funded three lung cancer research fellows. Our first fellow, Dr Emma O’Dowd, is now leading her first lung cancer research project with current fellow, Dr Helen Morgan. The DECLINE project examines why a significant number of patients who seem suitable for curative-intent treatment decide not to have this treatment. 

“The brilliant thing about being specifically a Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Fellow is how patient-focused the charity is,” explains Dr Morgan. “All of the research that I’ve completed so far, and that previous Fellows completed, is patient-focused. Absolutely, there needs to be research done in labs to get new medications, but the brilliant thing about Roy Castle is that it’s focusing on people with lung cancer and the people important to them.

Personally, being a Fellow has provided me the opportunity to spend time just doing research for the last three years to further my own research skills.

I have learned about how to conduct a study, about ethics, how to get approval, and how to really start a research project. Above all, I’ve also learned about how to do it well, how to properly work with data, how to do qualitative research, interviewing people and analysing those interviews. The amount I’ve learned in the last three years is just exponential.’’

Applications for the first James Brokenshire Lung Cancer Research Fellowship will open at the British Thoracic Oncology Group (BTOG) annual meeting at the end of April 2023, with a view to funding the fellowship from 2024.

For more information, please email jackie.tebbs@roycastle.org