Dr Ollie Minton PhD FRCP, Locum Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Palliative Medicine – St George’s University of London, UK, was joint second place winner of the European Association for Palliative Care Early Researcher Award awarded earlier this month at the 8th EAPC World Research Congress in Lleida. Dr Minton explains how his research in cancer-related fatigue led to the award.
I am essentially a clinician now working as a consultant in palliative medicine but I have formed links with the EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer) because of my interest in cancer survivorship. I am also a member of the science committee of the Association of Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland to engage with and help to promote research in palliative care in the UK.
I’m really pleased to be able to share my thoughts about the future of supportive and palliative care research. I’m at a junction in my career returning mainly to clinical work but I hope this award provides the impetus to further collaborate and generate more funds to further the academic side. I certainly hope to obtain more grant income and conduct clinical trials into symptom management. I hope to find a substantive consultant post where I can collaborate with all the work the EAPC and others are doing.
I’ve witnessed a real development of collaboration and the recognition that we can include patients at all stages of illness to research symptom control and provide a further evidence base for what we do in clinical practice.
I’m equally pleased to have won the award as most of my work has been conducted in cancer survivors but I believe that we – as professionals – should be actively involved at all stages of illness and it’s great that the EAPC award fits with my philosophy. I don’t think the research we conduct should be limited to that at the end of life. There are so many potential areas of symptom management we need to more fully understand from a mechanistic point of view so that more targeted interventions can be designed and tested. This may be new drugs or a combination of drug and/or complex interventions.
I could not have got to this point without the support of the NCRI (National Cancer Research Institute – UK) research collaborative capacity building fund that allowed me to make a competitive application for a PhD fellowship scheme. Without this it is unlikely that I would have been successful. I hope the newer academic training scheme and support from charities such as Marie Curie Cancer Care, who are actively investing in research, will allow others to emulate my path. I believe that without a quorum of research active/ready clinicians the large-scale trials we need may well be impossible to conduct. We can certainly learn from the oncology model and it’s excellent to see closer ties to oncology societies such as ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology).
I would single out my mentor and colleague, Professor Paddy Stone (now Marie Curie Chair in Palliative and End of Life Care at University College London), for particular praise and for consistently backing me.
I’m incredibly grateful and hope further opportunities will now arise. I’d certainly like to play an active part in supportive and palliative care research over the coming years. Happy to engage in more debate online – twitter is my preferred medium @drol007.
Find out more …
The Early Researcher Award (formerly Young Investigator Award) was created as an annual award by the EAPC in 2009. This award is designed to recognise the work of young (novice) scientists and clinicians in the field of palliative care who have recently made, or are currently making, an outstanding contribution to research. The Call for Nominations for the next Early Researcher Award will open in July – check the EAPC website for announcements. Click here to read posts from this year’s prizewinner and former Early Researcher Award prizewinners.
A similar version of this article will also be published in the September issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care and is reproduced here ahead of publication with kind permission.
Selected presentations from the 8th EAPC World Research Congress in Lleida now online…
Even if you weren’t able to attend the congress held in Lleida, Spain, in June, you can now download some of the presentations and other information relating to the congress. Click here to view.
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