Miss Cliona Kirwan: The Thrombin Pathway in Breast Cancer Dis-semination: a potential biomarker and novel therapeutic target

In 2012, Miss Cliona Kirwan, a consultant in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery, was awarded an NIHR Clinician Scientist Award to investigate the relationship between cancer and the clotting system.

It is well recognised that cancer increases the risk of patients developing clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) and clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism). Increasingly it is being recognised that the relationship between cancer and clotting works two ways. It appears that the clotting system may help cancers grow and spread. Miss Kirwan has been awarded £1.3 million to perform a programme of work that will investigate this relationship between cancer and clotting. She aims to develop methods of targeting the clotting system to help reduce growth and spread of breast cancer.

Clinician Scientists Awards are post-doctoral training fellowships, awarded to clinicians, from any discipline, with a strong background in clinical research. This NIHR personal award funds a five year programme of work with the aim of benefitting patients and also developing future research leaders.

The RDS NW was able to help Miss Kirwan develop and review her application. She is now over a year into her award and has a team of researchers assisting her in both clinical and laboratory studies, with some exciting results already being found.