How Marie Curie is leading the way in research to help terminally ill people

By Bill Noble
Medical Director

Dr Bill NobleBy investing in high-quality research on palliative and end of life care we can provide longer-term benefits to people with terminal illnesses.

Marie Curie already spends £3 million each year on research which funds:

• our research centres at University College London, Cardiff and Liverpool
• our research facilitator programme with posts at our hospices in Belfast, Edinburgh and the West Midlands
• our open funding stream – the Marie Curie Cancer Care Research Programme – where we invite researchers from all over the UK to submit proposals for research studies

As a charity that also offers vital support to patients and families through our nursing service and nine hospices in the UK, it is important that Marie Curie fosters a culture where we strive both to generate new knowledge and make sure that knowledge leads to improvements in the care we provide.

We currently fund some fantastic work, including projects on access to care for sexual minorities, evaluation of palliative care day services, and the role of carers looking after someone at home at the end of life. You can watch short videos of our researchers describing the impact their projects will have on patients and families and download our research overview document to find out more about how our money is spent on research.

Big ambitions

But we want to do more. We are planning to double the amount of money we invest in research over the next three to five years. This will allow us to tackle more of the questions that need answering about how best to care for patients and their families.

It is extremely important to us that patients and their families are the ones driving our research. Last year Marie Curie launched a project in partnership with over 30 other organisations to identify what are the most important questions that patients, carers, families and healthcare professionals want answering through research. By January 2015 we will have a top ten list of questions that will guide where we, and other partners, invest their money.