Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Applications are sought for the prestigious Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology - Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (CCRCB-PMCC) Clinical Fellowship Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine which is supported by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office (HSC R&D) Northern Ireland. 

Introduction

The CCRCB-PMCC Clinical Fellowship Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine offers a unique opportunity for suitable qualified and highly motivated medical doctors to perform their doctoral training studies at the prestigious Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC), Toronto, Canada. Students will be exposed to leading edge cancer research within PMCC under the joint supervision of QUB and PMCC supervisors in an unrivalled environment for high quality translational cancer research. This is a career defining opportunity to enrol on a highly prestigious programme and represents a commitment by CCRCB and HSC R&D to invest in excellence to deliver the highest quality research informed care to patients in Northern Ireland, in the UK and internationally.

PMCC is the largest cancer research and clinical facility in Canada, with more than 19,000 new patients annually. Established in 2001, the Princess Margaret Drug Development Programme (DDP) is one of the leading academic oncology early phase clinical trials programmes worldwide. Led by Dr. Lillian Siu, the PMHCC Phase I Programme opens 15-20 new trials and enrolls approximately 200 patients to phase I trials annually, with ~ 35-40 active trials open at any one time. More than 3,000 patients have been enrolled in the Integrated Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial (IMPACT) and Community Oncology in Advanced Cancers Trial (COMPACT). These flagship studies emphasise the leading role that PMCC is playing in delivering 21st century cancer medicine.

The joint CCRCB-PMCC Programme will train early career investigators in experimental therapeutics, a key components of modern cancer care. Successful candidate(s) from Northern Ireland will join a cadre of 6-8 clinical fellows and be immersed in a world class training program that attracts the best trainees from Europe, Australia and Asia. There is a structured curriculum that includes active participation in the planning, coordination and implementation of selected clinical trial protocols. Fellows develop skills in writing protocols, analysing trial data; presenting results at local, national and international meetings; and preparing peer-reviewed manuscripts for publication. Fellows are assigned to a clinical trial patient roster, when they assess patients actively participating in trials, providing broad hands-on experience with the day-to-day conduct of early phase clinical trials, including patient assessment, toxicity management and attribution, record keeping, and communication with the study team. In addition, fellows participate in 3 half-day ambulatory medical oncology clinics per week to gain additional expertise in their disease sites of interest, which include the weekly phase 1 new referral assessment clinic. 

All fellows are assigned 2 supervisors in the DDP and the Division of Medical Oncology at PMCC. The supervisors are responsible for providing opportunities for fellows to lead research projects and other academic pursuits. Fellows develop and implement translational research projects that leverage ongoing collaborations with scientists at the PMCC in the areas of cancer genomics and immunotherapy. All fellows meet individually with the Directors of the Programme for bi-annual progress review meetings to ensure that clinical workload, research opportunities, and academic productivity is in line with the expectations of the training programme. The Annual Fellows’ Retreat is a two-day event that provides all fellows with the opportunity to provide an overview of their ongoing research projects to all staff physicians in the DDP for critical evaluation and fellows are also asked to develop a new concept for a research project for collaborative input.

Prospective students will spend 2 years at the PMCC, under the mentorship of Dr Siu and Dr Philippe Bedard, before returning for their third year to Queen’s. In this third year, the student will work part-time clinically in the early phase cancer trials programme in the Belfast Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre under the supervision of Dr Vicky Coyle and Prof Richard Wilson. They will also work in one or more relevant CCRCB laboratories, undertaking translational and correlative laboratory research linked to the themes of their first two years research. This may be in biomarkers, pharmacodynamic assays, or underpinning biological research related to the agents, disease areas and pathways previously explored in the fellowship, or in other relevant areas. The three year fellowship will allow a comprehensive training in the discovery science, translational and clinical research aspects of precision cancer medicine. It will also provide a body of research that will be suitable for submission as a doctoral thesis to QUB. The student will have 2 QUB supervisors for the full duration of the programme, ensuring a constant linkage with Northern Ireland during their time in Toronto and providing both continuity in their progress and oversight of their academic progress towards their postgraduate degree. These prestigious fellowships will allow the fellows to be embedded in state-of-the-art facilities at PMCC with high quality mentorship, allowing them to acquire specialist skills and bring them back for future implementation within the NI Cancer Centre/Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) in Northern Ireland. This capacity building of premier quality graduates is critical to our aim to deliver the most optimal care to cancer patients in Northern Ireland, in the UK and globally.

Application Criteria

1. Applicants must hold a national training number in medical oncology in the N. Ireland Deanery.

2. Applicants should submit the following documentation to Prof Mark Lawler (mark.lawler@qub.ac.uk) to support their application by the closing date (Wednesday 1 February 2017 at 4pm):

i) Curriculum Vitae, with a particular focus on relevant experience;

ii) A 1-2 page Declaration of Interest as to your motivation for being a fellow on this prestigious CCRCB - PMCC Clinical Fellowship Programme.

3. Applications received after this date/time will not be considered.

4. Applications will be reviewed by a specially convened Committee. 

5. Short-listed applicants will be called for interview.

6. Decisions will be made based on:

  • the quality of the candidate;
  • their progress to date;
  • suitability for the programme;
  • their performance at interview.

 7. The Committee reserves the right to only appoint candidates of particular quality to this exciting new prestigious programme at Queen's.

 8. The decision of the Committee will be final.

 9. Please direct any queries to Course Director Prof Mark Lawler (mark.lawler@qub.ac.uk) or Prof Richard Wilson (r.wilson@qub.ac.uk).