Scotland is to receive a share of £5.9 million to ensure that two senior research nurses can continue working on cancer clinical trials. 

Cancer Research UK confirmed today that it is allocating £749,336 to fund the two positions – one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh - over the next five years.

Laura Rooney, the Glasgow-based CRUK nurse, has worked in clinical research for the past 15 years.

She described her role - which involves helping to set up and run clinical trials for cancer patients in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde - as a "special privilege".


Based between the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, a critical part of her role is raising awareness of clinical trials among the health community, patients and the public.

Ms Rooney said: "Being able to support patients gaining access to experimental new treatments can offer them hope but it is also invaluable in informing future drug development and research.

“Clinical trials offer the best path to new more effective treatments for patients now and in the future.”

Ms Rooney has been pivotal in a number of key clinical trials offered to Scots patients including DETERMINE, the largest study ever funded by the charity into so-called "precision medicine" - where treatments are matched to individual patients.

The ongoing trial is exploring whether drugs already used for other cancer types can be used to treat rare forms of cancer - or common cancers with unusual genetic mutations - where patients have exhausted other options. 

If successful, those medicines could then be quickly approved to treat other patients with the same rare cancer across the UK.

Cancer Research UK currently funds 15 Senior Research Nurses across the UK, including in Scotland, Wales, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge, Newcastle, Oxford and Southampton.

They play a critical role in helping people affected by cancer gain access to clinical trials which offer patients, some of whom have few remaining treatment options, the opportunity to try new therapies which, if effective, can be adopted more widely for others.

These roles act as a key liaison between researchers, health professionals and patients and help to both raise awareness of cancer clinical trials and support delivery of trials within the NHS.

The Glasgow and Edinburgh nurses work closely with each city’s Experimental Cancer Medicines Centre (ECMC) which run clinical trials for patients with cancer in Scotland.

The Herald: Laura Rooney is involved in setting up and running clinical trials for cancer patients in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde regionLaura Rooney is involved in setting up and running clinical trials for cancer patients in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region (Image: CRUK)

Anne Croudass, Cancer Research UK’s Lead Research Nurse, said: “We are delighted to announce this renewed funding for our Senior Research Nurses who perform an invaluable role in Scotland and across the UK.

“This demonstrates our commitment to offering, and recruiting patients to, clinical trials wherever possible for patients with cancer.

“Clinical trials offer opportunities for new and more effective treatments for cancer and provide hope for patients now and in the future.”