The Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network (NICTN), formerly known as the Northern Ireland Cancer Clinical Trials Unit (NICCTU) was offically established in 1999 following the signing of the National Cancer Institute-Ireland-Northern Ireland Cancer Agreement. Our local Northern Ireland DHSSPS Research and Development Office (now the HSC Research & Development Division of the Public Health Agency) provided funding for the initial infrastructure to be put in place. Today the HSC R & DD provides core funding in support of the NICTN’s continued expansion with significant additional funding being provided by Cancer Research UK and the local charity, Friends of the Cancer Centre. Recognition must also be given to a number of other organisations that have funded specific roles within the NICTN; these include The Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Fund for Children, Myeloma UK, Bloodwise and Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI.
The role of NICTN is
- to co-ordinate and promote cancer clinical trials, and run the full range of first-in-human phase I to phase IV trials, along with genetic epidemiology, questionnaire, quality of life, translational and other high quality studies. Clinical trials can be designed locally (investigator-initiated) or adopted as part of a multi-centre study. Investigator-initiated trials often involve collaboration with other academic groups within local universities or hospitals
- to act as the co-ordinating centre for the Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network (NICTN) responsible for the co-ordination of cancer clinical trial and translational research activity throughout Northern Ireland, particularly phase III trials and epidemiology studies
- to manage an academic early clinical trials unit running a portfolio of Cancer Research UK, commercial and local investigator-initiated experimental cancer medicine studies including phase I, II and translational trials. In April 2007, the NICTN was awarded Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) status, one of 19 such centres appointed within the UK. ECMC status was renewed in April 2017.