Planned €7.5m cancer research group ‘patient focused’

Joint research initiative will attract private sector support

It had already announced similar partnerships with Teagasc, Pfizer and the Department of Education and Learning in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

It had already announced similar partnerships with Teagasc, Pfizer and the Department of Education and Learning in Northern Ireland. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tue, Apr 8, 2014, 01:00


The planned €7.5 million cancer research group set up jointly by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland will be “absolutely patient focused” said the society’s head of research.

“The purpose of research is for the patient. If it doesn’t help the patient . . . it is a waste of time,” said Prof John Fitzpatrick. He was speaking yesterday after the launch of the joint centre that will also involve private-sector support equal to 10 per cent of the total budget.

He also called for proposals from groups interested in establishing this new research consortium.

This is the second Collaborative Cancer Research Centre to be announced by the society. Last year it announced funding for the first such centre, Breast-Predict, which focuses on aspects of breast cancer.


New drug


The research theme for the new centre will be set by the group that succeeds in the call for proposals.

“This is significant because it is the second of our Collaborative Cancer Research Centres,” Prof Fitzpatrick said. It was also important because of the new partnership with the foundation and the support from companies.

“This will help to really move more quickly into diagnosis by biomarkers, treatment by a new drug and combinations of drugs, new ideas of what is happening to the cancer itself, and it will lead inevitably to better clinical practice, ” he said.

The new partnership was in keeping with the foundation’s medium-term strategy, said its director general, Prof Mark Ferguson. The goal was “to leverage our investment and capability to the maximum extent”.

This involved forming partnerships with bodies from companies to charities.It had already announced similar partnerships with Teagasc, Pfizer and the Department of Education and Learning in Northern Ireland, he said.

Yet the centre also addressed “a really important scientific, health and societal challenge of finding new ways to prevent and treat cancer”.

The partnership looked like a good idea given it would consolidate efforts in cancer research, said Prof Catherine Godson, a senior medical research principal investigator at University College Dublin. “It seems to be a good way of leveraging funding.”