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Queen’s-led research wins highly commended award at major UK data conference

Research led by Professor Mark Lawler

Research led by Prof Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics and Professor of Digital Health at Queen’s University Belfast received a highly commended award in the Impact of the Year category at this year’s Health Data Research UK’s One Institute Virtual Conference.

The research, which focussed on the direct and indirect effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on cancer services and cancer patients in the United Kingdom (UK) highlighted for the first time how the repurposing of health services to ensure sufficient infection control during the pandemic has inadvertently compromised cancer care for citizens and patients, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment and increased risk of excess mortality in patients with cancer.  The research, which was also chosen as a case study by Health Data Research UK, employed a combination of near real time data and extensive modelling to delineate the adverse effects of the pandemic on cancer patients and their care.  

Prof Lawler was also invited to write an opinion piece on the work for Health Data Research UK: 'COVID-19, Cancer and Comorbidities: A Deadly Triumvirate'

The research has had significant impact by both highlighting a significant health issue across the UK and supporting the reopening/refocussing of cancer services.  It was widely praised by patient advocacy groups, was recommended by national organisations such as the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries and had over 14,000 hits on ResearchGate, emphasising its relevance to the research community.