Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Applications are sought for the prestigious Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research - Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PGJCCR-PMCC) Clinical Fellowship Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine, supported by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office (HSC R&D) Northern Ireland.
The PGJCCR-PMCC Clinical Fellowship Programme in Precision Cancer Medicine offers a unique opportunity for highly motivated medical doctors to perform their doctoral training studies at the world famous 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 PGJCCR 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 globally.
PMCC is the largest cancer research and clinical facility in Canada. Its Drug Development Programme (DDP) is one of the leading academic oncology early phase clinical trials programmes worldwide. Led by Prof Lillian Siu, the DDP opens 15-20 new trials and enrols approximately 200 patients to phase I trials annually, with ~ 35-40 active trials open at any one time. More than 3,500 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 PGJCCR-PMCC Programme will train early career investigators in experimental therapeutics, a key components of modern cancer care. The successful candidate will join a cadre of 6-8 clinical fellows and be immersed in a world class programme that attracts the best trainees worldwide. A structured curriculum includes active participation in the planning, coordination and implementation of 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, providing broad hands-on experience with the day-to-day conduct of early phase clinical trials. 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 at PMCC, 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. 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 are in line with their expectations. The Annual Fellows’ Retreat provides all fellows with the opportunity to provide an overview of their ongoing research projects 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 PMCC, under the mentorship of Prof 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 Prof Vicky Coyle. They will also work in one or more relevant PGJCCR laboratories, undertaking translational and correlative laboratory research linked to the themes of their first two years research. This may be in biomarkers, molecular pathology or underpinning biological research related to the agents, disease areas and pathways previously explored in the fellowship, or in other relevant areas. The 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 allow 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). This capacity building of premier quality graduates is critical to our aim to deliver the most optimal care to cancer patients in Northern Ireland, the UK and globally.
Applicants must hold a National Training Number (NTN) in medical oncology in the Northern Ireland Deanery and have completed at least one year of specialty training in medical oncology (or equivalent experience) at the time of application.