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Cancer Research at ROH: developing a new finger prick test

Our hospital has always prioritised research. Since our inception in 1817 we’ve been leading the way in research and development, and almost 200 years later, we’re still doing amazing things! As it was World Cancer Day on 4 February, we wanted to share a bit more about a trial the Research Team is helping to support called ‘The RNA (ribonucleic acid) Silencing in Primary Bone Cancer study’ which has the potential to support earlier cancer diagnosis.

The RNA Silencing in Primary Bone Cancer study is a trial looking at patients who have been diagnosed with chondrosarcoma (a rare type of bone cancer) and are listed for an excision surgery or an amputation. We are working with the University of Norwich who have developed this study to investigate the role of Micro RNAs in causing chondrosarcoma.

The aim is to develop a finger prick test for those at risk of this cancer. They are hoping that this finger prick test will facilitate early diagnosis. The Lead Nurse for this RNA study is Laura Bird, Senior Research Nurse and the data manager is Laura Bird.

The patients who are approached by the Research Team are those with low or high grade chondrosarcoma who visit the hospital for an excision or amputation surgery. A small blood sample is taken and a sample of their tumour is sent to the University of Norwich for further investigations. So far, 18 of our patients have consented to the study and early indicators and reports from the University of Norwich suggest that the trial is proving successful.

The Research Team are always busy, as Melony Hayes, Research Sister explained,

“We consented a total of 385 oncology patients to various research trials in 2015. These trials range from observational studies in which patients complete questionnaires, to sample collection studies such as the RNA Silencing in Primary Cancer study. We also carry out interventional studies which may include longer MRI scans to gain additional images for a better diagnosis or injections to help shrink the size of a tumour which would otherwise be inoperable.”

Our Research Team do an amazing job of ensuring that ROH continues to be a knowledge leader. This spirit of innovation and learning is crucially important for our patients and for the care we offer.

If you'd like to find out more about this study, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To find out more about World Cancer Day, click here.


Pictured above left to right: Ellie Keeling, Senior Research Nurse, Hannah Spencer, Research Data Manager, Laura Bird, Senior Research Nurse, Claudette Jones, Senior Research Nurse, Siobhan Roche, Research Data Manager and Melony Hayes, Research Sister