Emerging Irish clinician researchers will be supported in pursuing exciting cancer research projects across areas. These include lung, breast and cancer genetics. It is as part of a record €450K investment by the ICS over the next two years.
The funding is provided as part of the Society’s Clinician Research Leadership Award. The award ‘buys out’ the time of hospital-based clinicians who are at the forefront of patient care. This is so they can devote time to forward-looking research projects. It is with the aim of attracting in addition to retaining world-class oncology consultants for Ireland who will drive evidence-based advances for patients.
Cancer Geneticist and Ovarian Cancer Specialist Prof Karen Cadoo
Cancer Geneticist and Ovarian Cancer Specialist Prof Karen Cadoo from St James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin will use the award to focus on critical research in the inherited genetic cancer space. The ultimate aim to ensure as many people as possible are aware of their own genetic risk of cancer. Where this exists, and what they can do to lower it.
“It’s so hard to move research forward when you don’t have time with the demands of clinical work. This award guarantees time to get these projects off the ground and get that all-important data. This will all push towards better resourcing and improvements in our cancer genetic services,” Prof Cadoo said.
Cancer surgeon Prof Aoife Lowery
Cancer surgeon Prof Aoife Lowery who is based in University Hospital Galway and NUI Galway will be using her award to dedicate time to a range of cutting-edge projects. They focus on reducing the burden of treatment for people affected. These interdisciplinary, collaborative projects investigate less invasive procedures to treat cancerous tumours. In addition to novel ways to reduce the toxic side effects of cancer treatment including chemotherapy. This includes related hair loss and cardiac dysfunction.
“At the moment, particularly with the backlog caused by cancellations during Covid surges, the clinical workload is very busy. It is difficult to find the time required to do meaningful research. The funding from this award will be used to provide part-time cover for another doctor to undertake some of my hospital sessions. This allows me to then dedicate that time to research – so the clinical work will not be affected. But I will have the time to focus on patient-centred research,” said Prof Lowery. She is also receiving support from Enterprise Ireland’s Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund across various projects. She is collaborating with colleagues at the Translational Medical Device Laboratory and the CORRIB Core Lab in NUIG.
Prof Jarushka Naidoo of Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre
Prof Jarushka Naidoo of Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre (Beaumont Hospital and RCSI University) will be dedicating her efforts to advancing clinical trials for patients with lung cancer. This is including a novel investigator-initiated clinical trial of a new targeted therapy for lung cancer. As well as a series of projects that will help improve our understanding of immunotherapy – a treatment that harnesses the body’s own immune system to target cancer cells.
“An award like this is truly transformative. It allows those with an interest and commitment to research to set out their stall in an Irish context. To take the first steps that will lead to long-term benefits for patients. Many consultants across Ireland have pursued extra training and developed expertise in the best centres in the world. An award like this allows us the time and opportunity to bring that experience home, by building new and needed programs that will help our patients,” Prof Naidoo said.
Commenting on the Clinician Research Leadership Award recipients, Irish Cancer Society Director of Research Dr Robert O’Connor said: “I want to congratulate each of these talented medical professionals and researchers on their awards, which will allow them more time to focus on critical innovations that will contribute towards the overall goal of making sure more people survive cancer in future, and can look forward to a good quality of life during and after treatment.
“We are also hugely grateful to the public, whose support through events such as our upcoming flagship Daffodil Day fundraiser on March 25 allows us to fund research that brings us closer to a world where no-one dies from cancer.”
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