male researcher working in a lab

From discovery to recovery

Breast Cancer Focus Group

The role of the Breast Cancer Focus Group is to facilitate the transition of novel biomarkers or therapies from the laboratory into prospective clinical trials run in the Belfast Experimental Cancer Medical Centre (ECMC) for the benefit of patients affected by breast cancer.

Our Members


The Breast Cancer Focus Group is comprised of Oncologists, Surgeons, Pathologists, Geneticists and laboratory-based Scientists.

Chair: Mr Stuart McIntosh     

Deputy Chair: Dr Gerry Hanna

Group Members
Dr Jackie Clarke Dr Seamus McAleer Professor Kevin Prise
Dr Alison Clayton Dr Nuala McCabe Professor Tracy Robson
Professor Paul Harkin Dr Shane McKee Professor Manuel Salto-Tellez
Dr Jane Hurwitz Dr Paul Mullan Dr Kienan Savage
Dr Colin James Dr Niamh Buckley (O'Brien)             Dr Laura Taggart
Professor Richard Kennedy            Dr Eileen Parkes Dr Steven Walker
Dr Tong Lioe    


Areas of Research Focus

Clinical Research

Ultimately the Breast Cancer Focus Group aims to translate laboratory research findings such as the identification of novel biomarkers or the development of novel therapies and incorporate them into prospective clinical trials.  Significant progress has been made within the last year to establish the research infrastructure necessary to deliver such translational research.

Beyond the development of clinical studies from discoveries made within CCRCB, the Clinical Team in the Cancer Centre aim to provide a range of National and International Clinical Studies for patients with breast cancer.  The Breast Cancer Focus group aims to provide strategic advice on the composition of the breast cancer clinical trials portfolio within the Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network.

A summary of some of the studies is available here.

If you are a patient and are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, please speak with the Doctor who is responsible for your care.

Basic and Translational Research

Breast cancer research within CCRCB is centred around the following themes:

  • DNA damage signalling;
  • DNA Repair;
  • Hormone therapy resistance;
  • Triple Negative and BRCA phenotypes;
  • Angiogenesis;
  • Biomarkers of response;
  • Chemoprevention in women at high risk of breast cancer;
  • Breast tissue response to ionising radiation.




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