NUI Galway leads global clinical trial to improve health outcomes for cancer patients

Dr Amjad Hayat, consultant haematologist, Galway University Hospital and the Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group, School of Medicine, NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon
May 04 2021 Posted: 13:08 IST

Researchers are looking to recruit patients who have been newly diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

A leading Haematologist at Galway University Hospital and the Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group at School of Medicine in NUI Galway are looking at improving health outcomes for patients with Mantle cell Lymphoma by conducting a clinical trial of a new treatment drug which aims to improve survival rates.

The trial is being led in Galway by Dr Amjad Hayat consultant haematologist, who has led many previous clinical trials in this area. The Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group Research group, previously knowns as the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, have been in operation since 2002 years at NUI Galway, with an extensive repertoire and experience in oncology and haematology research.

Dr Hayat said: “Participating in this trial is very important for the future of Mantel Cell Lymphoma treatments and its patients. The trial is expected to continue for seven years, which will include a treatment period and a follow up period, giving the researchers as much information as possible about the efficacy and safety of the drug.”

Galway University Hospital is one of 150 sites globally to take part in this clinical trial with an estimated 500 participants to be recruited on a voluntary basis across each site.

Dr Hayat continued: “We are now looking to recruit patients who have been newly diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma (MCL). MCL is a rare and aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma equating to about 7% of all patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma each year. Sadly, MCL at present has poor prognosis with average survival rate of less than three years from diagnosis.”

Explaining the treatment for Mantel Cell Lymphoma patients, Dr Hayat added: “Ireland’s standard of care treatment offered to newly diagnosed, physically fit MCL patients at present include an intensive chemotherapy regime coupled with an autologous transplant. Two targeted therapy drugs called Bendamustine and Rituximab are offered to patients who are less physically fit. This trial proposes a new experimental drug called Zanubrutinib coupled with existing drug Rituximab which may be more efficient at treating MCL and hopefully, prolonging survival rates.

“Zanubrutinib differs from previous treatments as it blocks substances found in the body that help cancerous Mantel Cell Lymphoma cells to grow and survive. By blocking these substances, Zanubrutinib could essentially slow the growth of these cells and may improve symptoms of MCL.”

Dr Hayat conluded: “In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States approved this drug for use on Mantel Cell Lymphoma patients with continued clinical trials and approximately 1500 patients having received the drug to date. As recruitment opens we look forward to seeing what the results will bring for patients.”

Patients or family members wishing to enquire about this clinical trial and other clinical trials taking place at the the Advanced Therapies and Cancers Group can visit the website at


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