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Cancer Network

NRS Cancer is supported by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government to increase, support and sustain clinical trial activity in cancer care in partnership with the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC).

The fundamental aim of NRS Cancer is to support the recruitment of cancer patients into clinical research and so contribute to improving the quality of cancer care for patients across Scotland. This has been achieved by improving the supportive research infrastructure in NHS Cancer Services in Scotland. Key aims include:

  • Breadth of portfolio - Support recruitment to a range of trials, not just common cancers
  • Randomised Controlled Trial focus - Support recruitment to therapy trials
  • Translational research - Work in partnership with the Experimental Cancer Medicine Network (ECMC) or equivalent
  • Equity of access - facilitate access to clinical trials outside the main Cancer Centres.

NRS Cancer is led by NHS Research Scotland Cancer Research Network, Clinical Lead Professor Jeff Evans and is divided into regions: North, East, South East and West. Each region has a Network Manager to support their regional trial portfolio and research teams. The clinical research supported by NRS Cancer is peer-reviewed, quality research that is included in the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) clinical trial portfolio or considered eligible by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) in Scotland. 

Every person taking part in research is helping the fight against cancer. Cancer trials in Scotland cover many different types of cancer and are open at hospitals throughout Scotland. Please ask your cancer professional for more information on cancer clinical trials.


NRS Cancer - West

The hub of the NRS Cancer - West is the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRUK CTU) in the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (BWoSCC). From here extends the network of clinical trials staff based in hospitals in each of the West of Scotland Cancer Network WoSCAN NHS Health Board areas – NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Forth Valley and NHS Lanarkshire. The research team support local recruitment to cancer clinical trials and so provide cancer patients with the opportunity to participate in cancer clinical trials at their local hospital.

Further information

Karen Bell,  


NRS Cancer – South East

NRS Cancer - SE was one of the three Scottish Cancer Research Networks established in 2003 with the support from Cancer in Scotland, the Chief Scientist's Office and Information Services Division (ISD). NRS Cancer – SE covers NHS Borders, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Fife and NHS Lothian Health Board areas, with a population of around 1.4 million and supports research across these regions. NRS Cancer - SE's Management Team include the Experimental Cancer Research Network and Lothian R&D who meet bi-monthly. There is also a steering group for the Research Network which meets annually. NRS Cancer - SE is structured around disease-specific teams to maximise the support for research, both within the Cancer Centre and in local Cancer Units across the region. Research staff based in local Cancer Units cover different disease sites but link in with each of the disease-specific teams.

Further information

Dorothy Boyle,


NRS Cancer - North

NRS Cancer - North was established in 2003 and covers NHS Grampian, NHS Highland,  NHS Orkney, NHS Shetland and NHS Western Isles. The two main centres in the North of Scotland are Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Raigmore Hospital. Currently, Dr Leslie Samuel, Consultant Medical Oncologist, is the Clinical Lead for NRS Cancer and Dr Kirsty Shearer is the Network Manager. 

Within the network, we have a selection of highly trained medical professionals who work together to deliver a wide variety of services including medical, nursing, radiography, biochemistry, pharmacy, pathology, data management and administration to support cancer research.

Further information

Kirsty Shearer,


NRS Cancer – East

In December 2009 NHS Tayside became the fourth NRS Cancer regional network. The Clinical Lead for the East node is Professor Ghulam Nabi, chair of surgical uro-oncology at Ninewells hospital and the Network Manager is Dr Kirsty Shearer.  SCRN-East covers a population of approximately 500,000 in Tayside and North East Fife, taking in the major clinical research facilities at Perth Royal Infirmary and at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee.

NRS Cancer - E integrates NRS Cancer research staff with staff employed from other funding streams, and staff work very closely with the Clinical Research Centre, as part of the site-wide management of facilities and resources under the Tayside Medical Science Centre.

Further information

Kirsty Shearer,


News highlights from the East node:

  • The second Tayside Cancer Research Symposium has been held at Ninewells Hospital.  An informative afternoon of talks was provided by cancer researchers and those that support cancer research from across Tayside.  Alan McNair from CSO attended the event and spoke about the support that they give to cancer research and the opportunities available to researchers across Scotland.  The event was well supported with over 70 delegates registering for the event.