Dr Seamus Coyle BSc in Biotechnology MMedSc MB BCh BAO MRCPI PhD

Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Honorary Clinical Fellow Clinical Directorate Professional Services


The biology of dying

My main research interests include the biology of dying and the development of a test to recognise the last weeks and days of life. The research group includes collaborations with Prof Chris Probert and Prof Mark Boyd.

We have achieved a number of important milestones in the Biology of Dying area including;
- Publication of a systematic review of biomarkers of dying in cancer patients in the last months of life with an exploration of the biology of dying
- Publication of the first study to prospectively collect urine samples from people in the last weeks of life
- Development of a novel freeze drying extraction technique that increased the number of identifiable VOCs for analysis by GC-MS.
- Publication of a methods paper describing and comparing different methods for the analysis of volatile organic compounds in urine.
- Completion of a feasibility study that recruited 20 inpatients people at a hospice and collected urine from 12 people in the last month of life.
- Demonstration by metabolomic analyses that volatile organic compounds in urine change in the last weeks of life
- Awarded a Wellcome Trust Seed award in Science based on our findings
- Completion of a Pilot study collecting urine from 25 people with lung cancer in each of the last 3 weeks of life. In total 175 people were recruited; 30 in the last week, 26 in the second last week and 30 in the third last week of life.
- Verification that urinary volatile organic compounds predict the last days and weeks of life in people with lung cancer

Hypomagnesaemia and pain

Author of a case report describing the analgesic benefit of treating hypomagnesaemia.
A national grant has been submitted to perform a case series to investigate this further.