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Cancer clinical trials

The Cancer Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU) in the Cancer Centre in University Hospital Limerick (UHL) coordinates a wide range of clinical trials in the cancer setting. The CCTU was established in 2001.

UHL is a designated Centre of Excellence. The trial unit is one of 16 hospital-based cancer trials centres in Ireland and is the only one in the Midwest region.

The CCTU is involved in medical oncology studies for patients with breast, lung, genitourinary, gastrointestinal and gynaecological cancers and haematology clinical studies.

In 2020 we have 290 patients under our care in Cancer Services participating in 35 Cancer Clinical Trials.

Clinical trials

A clinical trial is a research study designed to test new treatments or a new way of using known treatments. The goal is to find more effective and better ways to treat or prevent cancer. A clinical trial is also known as a clinical study, research study, or medical research.

Clinical Trials may be done to test one of the following:

  • New treatments
  • New ways of using treatments already available
  • New combinations of existing drugs
  • New ways of diagnosing or preventing cancer
  • The psychological effects of the treatment
  • The impact of treatments on Quality of Life (QoL)

Our team

The activity of our CCTU depends on a multidisciplinary team both within the centre and within our hospital community. The CCTU is led by Prof Linda Coate, Consultant Medical Oncologist, and Director of CCTU. Our experienced CCTU team consists of the following:

  • 1 Clinical Operations Manager (CNM3) : Maureen O’Grady
  • 4 Clinical Nurse Managers: Lorraine O’Connell, Susan Nagle, Marie Hanrahan, Elaine McCarthy/Marie Sheehan
  • 1 Clinical trials Pharmacist: Maria O’Sullivan
  • 1 Administration Manager: Valerie Madigan
  • 3 Data Managers: Ciara Cantrell, Siobhain O’Brien, Elzbieta Korona-Ansari
  • 8 Consultant Principal Investigators

Our Principal Investigators

Prof Linda Coate, Prof Rajnish K. Gupta, Dr Grzegorz Korpanty, Dr Nemer Osman, Dr. Roshni Kalachand

Dr Hilary O’Leary, Dr Denis O’Keeffe, Dr Ruth Clifford, Dr Aisling Nee, Dr. Eoghan Molloy

Currently recruiting clinical trials


Trial Name - Paricalcitol

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 19-33

Patient Profile - Incurable recurrent, locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Purpose - The trial is designed to establish whether adding a vitamin D analogue, Paricalcitol, to standard chemotherapy treatment, Gemcitabine and Nab-paclitaxel, can improve the outcomes for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Trial Name - COLOSSUS

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 17-26

Patient Profile - For patients with cancer of the colon which has spread (metastasised).

Purpose - The aim of the study is to identify and confirm one or more biomarkers (a biological substance) in blood and/or tissue, which will help us to identify the patients who are going to respond to their treatment.

Trial Name - CA209-8HW

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 18-08

Patient Profile - This study is being carried out in patients whose colorectal tumours contain a certain genetic marker called microsatellite instability high (MSI-H) that arises from inactivation of mismatch repair genes. MSI-H tumours are also known as Mismatch Repair Deficient (dMMR).

Purpose - The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of the treatment (how well the drug works), the safety of the treatment, and how well you can tolerate one of three treatment regimens.


Trial Name - MK-7339-010

Trial No. - KEYLYNK-010

Patient Profile - Participants With Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer.

Purpose - Phase 3 study of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) Plus Olaparib Versus Abiraterone Acetate or Enzalutamide in Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer (mCRPC).

Trial Name - MK-3475-641

Trial No. - KEYNOTE-641

Patient Profile - Participants With Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer.

Purpose - Phase 3 study of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) Plus Enzalutamide Versus Placebo Plus Enzalutamide in Participants With Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer.

Trial Name - MK-3475-921

Trial No. - KEYNOTE-921

Patient Profile - Participants With Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer.

Purpose - Phase 3 study of Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) Plus Docetaxel Versus Placebo Plus Docetaxel in Chemotherapy-naïve Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer (mCRPC).

Trial Name - MK-3475-991

Trial No. - KEYNOTE-991

Patient Profile - Metastatic Hormone-sensitive Prostate Cancer (mHSPC).

Purpose - Comparing the effect of the addition of an Immunotherapy Pembrolizumab versus a placebo to Enzalutamide and Androgen deprivation therapy(ADT) to overall survival.

Lymphoma and blood cancers

Trial Name - Beigene

Trial No. -CTRIAL-IE 3111-306

Patient Profile - Previously untreated Mantle Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL).

Purpose - To compare the effect of Zanubrutinib (BGB-3111) and Rituximab to that of Bendamustine and Rituximab to patients unsuitable for stem cell transplantation.

Trial Name -BCBI (Blood Cancer Biobank Ireland) sample collection

Trial No. - N/A

Patient Profile - Suspected or newly diagnosed or relapsed but not on treating patients with CLL, AML or Multiple Myeloma.

Purpose - Collection of Bone marrow or peripheral blood samples to be stored in a biobank for use in current or future research.

Trial Name - CALLs

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 18-48

Patient Profile - For patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) and Philadelphia (positive acute lymphoid leukaemia) who are being treated with their first or subsequent tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy.

Purpose - This project aims to evaluate the number of patients with CML or Ph + ALL currently being treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI’s) who have one mutation or more, that is identified using next-generation sequencing (NGS).


Trial Name - TERAVOLT

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 20-02

Patient Profile - Patients with thoracic cancer and a COVID infection.

Purpose - This registry collects data on patients who have a thoracic cancer and are infected with COVID-19.

Basket (multiple types)

Trial Name - Add-Asprin

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 16-19

Patient Profile - Patients with early breast, colorectal gastro-oesophageal or prostate cancer treated with curative intent.

Purpose - This phase 3 study will evaluate the effects of aspirin on disease recurrence and survival in patients who have had primary curative therapy for common non-metastatic solid tumours.

The Clinical Trials process

During your first visit to the Outpatient Department in Medical Oncology at UHL, your consultant may discuss a clinical trial with you.

The research nurse will further explain the details of the procedures involved in participation in the clinical trial. This will include:

  • what the trial is about
  • what treatment or procedures are involved
  • how you will be treated
  • side effects of treatment
  • what you will have to do to participate in the study

The standard treatment available will also be discussed.

You will receive written information about the clinical trial to take with you. You can discuss your options with your family or friends.

You can contact the research nurse with more questions throughout your decision making process.

If you decide to take part in a clinical trial, you have to be fully satisfied with all the information shared with you in regards to all the procedures involved in the participation in the clinical trial.

Our team will always strive to make sure that your wellbeing and safety during the participation in the study is our priority.

By taking part in a clinical trial you are helping to improve the general understanding of cancer and the best way to treat it.

Contact us

For more information on our open clinical trials, please contact our Clinical Trials Unit.

For more information on clinical trials in Ireland see: