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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 Trial Unit Manager: 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
  • 4 Data Managers: Ciara Cantrell, Siobhain O’Brien, Sharon Gardiner, Elzbieta Korona-Ansari
  • 8 Consultant Principal Investigators

Our Principal Investigators

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

Dr Hilary O’Leary Dr Denis O’Keeffe Dr Ruth Clifford Dr Aisling Nee

Currently recruiting clinical trials

Breast cancer

Trial Name - NATALEE

Trial No. - 18-41

Patient Profile - Early Breast Cancer

Purpose - This phase 3 study evaluates efficacy and safety of ribociclib with endocrine therapy as adjuvant treatment in patients with HR+/HER2- Early Breast Cancer.


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 - The tBRCA Study

Trial No. - CTRIAL-IE 18-01

Patient Profile - Patients with newly diagnosed or a recurrent high-grade epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer.

Purpose - This translational study will assess whether it is feasible to routinely test all women with a newly diagnosed or a recurrent ovarian cancer for a mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes when they present to the oncology clinic, using both tumour and blood samples.

Basket (multiple types)

Trial Name - Add-Asprin

Trial No. - 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 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: