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Cancer clinical trials

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 Cancer 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 had 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 Ruth Clifford, Consultant Haematologist and Director of CCTU. Our experienced CCTU team consists of the following:

  • 1 Clinical Operations Manager (CNM3): Maureen O’Grady
  • 4 Clinical Nurse Managers
  • 1 Clinical trials Pharmacist: Maria O’Sullivan
  • 1 Administration Manager: Valerie Madigan
  • 3 Data Managers
  • 11 Consultant Principal Investigators

Our Principal Investigators

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

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

The Clinical Trials process

During your first visit to Cancer Services 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:

Current recruiting clinical trials


Trial name: CA209-8HW

Trial number: 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-3475-641

Trial number: 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.

Lymphoma and blood cancers

Trial name: Beigene

Trial number: 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 number: 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: Hovon 156 AML

Trial number: AMLSG 28-18

Patient profile: Patients with newly diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) or Myelodysplastic syndromes with excess blasts-2 (MDS-EB2) with FLT3 mutations eligible for intensive chemotherapy

Purpose: Trial A phase 3, multicenter, open-label, randomized, study of Gilteritinib versus Midostaurin in combination with induction and consolidation therapy followed by one year maintenance in patients with newly diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) or Myelodysplastic syndromes with excess blasts-2 (MDS-EB2) with FLT3 mutations eligible for intensive chemotherapy

Trial name: The Impact of Genetic Expression Profile on Depth of Response and Survival in Myeloma (MRD Study)

Trial number: n/a

Patient profile: Patients who have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma and are potentially eligible for autologous stem cell transplant.

Purpose: Prospective, non-interventional, observational study to evaluate the combined assessment of gene expression profiling and MRD analysis to determine impact of genetic risk on achievement of MRD negativity and PFS in newly diagnosed transplant eligible patientswith Multiple Myeloma receiving standard of care regimens

Trial name: Natural and Vaccine-induced Immunity to COVID-19 in Haematological Malignancies

Trial number: n/a

Patient profile: Patients with blood cancers who are understanding the COVID-19 Vaccine or who have had a COVID-19 infection to understand if there is a response to the vaccine/infection.

Purpose: This is a study on the immune response of patients with blood cancers who are undertaking the COVID-19 vaccine or who have had a COVID-19 infection to understand if there is a response to the vaccine/infection. We know that not all patients with blood cancers will have a normal response to vaccines such as the influenza vaccine.

For this reason, more information is needed to understand the immune response of patients with blood cancers. We will be studying blood samples taken ideally before and after vaccination and testing different parts of the immune system to see if, compared to people without blood cancer, the immune response is different.

Please remember, that these are research tests and their results will not impact your treatment, but we hope that this project will help us to understand how patients will respond to COVID-19 infection and vaccination. This may lead to improved protective measures against COVID-19 in the future for patients.

Trial name: CLL17

Trial number: n/a

Patient Profile: patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Purpose: Trial Description: A phase 3 multicenter, randomized, prospective, open-label trial of Ibrutinib monotherapy versus fixed-duration Venetoclax plus Obinutuzumab versus fixed duration Ibrutinib plus Venetoclax in patients with previously untreated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)


Trial name: TERAVOLT

Trial number: 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-Aspirin

Trial number: 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.