Pictured: Eddie MacEoin enjoying life with his two grandchildren James Noonan (1 ½ years) and Laoise McAdam (2 years).
Speaking at our International Clinical Trials Day event, Cancer Trials Ireland’s Clinical Lead, Professor Bryan Hennessy, said that as a community we owe patients who take part in trials an immeasurable debt of gratitude.
“On behalf of the clinical community within Cancer Trials Ireland I want to acknowledge in the strongest possible terms the enormous contribution you have made and are making to helping the tens of thousands of people in Ireland alone who will be diagnosed with cancer in the coming years,” he said.
“International Clinical Trials Day is the day we recognise and acknowledge the work that is being done, day in day out, by researchers and patients across the world to find answers to questions that will improve the health and wellbeing of our communities today and for generations to come.
“As more than 50% of clinical trials in Ireland focus on cancer, it is naturally a very important day in our calendar.
In welcoming the Health Research Board and the Irish Cancer Society to the event, Professor Hennessy acknowledged that a large proportion of Cancer Trials Ireland’s funding comes from these two organisations.
“The financial support that we, and the cancer trials units around the country, receive from both organisations is critical to enable cancer trials research in Ireland to continue.
“It has been a tough time for many agencies in the health arena.
“Many of us have experienced the ripple effect of declining Government revenue as a result of the recession. There have been significant cut backs across the board.
“Unfortunately for us, because of the long range nature of our work, rather than abating with the uplift in Government revenues, the ripples are turning into small waves.
“In practical terms it has meant we have had to say no to a number of clinically important trials because we can’t fund them through to the end.
“These trials cover lymphoma, testicular and endometrial cancers. They seek to find better treatments for people with these types of cancers. They are not only scientifically and clinically significant, but also existentially significant for people with these types of cancers.
“Having said this, we are hopeful that the significant emphasis in the new National Cancer Strategy (2017 – 2026) on the importance of cancer trials and the Government’s policy to double the number of patients on therapeutic drug trials within the next two years, will lead to a corresponding recalibration of the Government’s funding commitment to supporting and developing Ireland’s unique national cancer trials network.
“Without it, it will be impossible to meet these important targets and unfortunately could cast a dark shadow on the strategy itself.
In his conclusion Professor Hennessy said that enormous strides had been made in the last ten years.
“I believe if we in Ireland can continue to work together, sharing our expertise and resources, we will continue to impact on the world stage in the field of cancer like we have done in many other fields of endeavour. In doing so, we will continue to bring hope to Irish patients by running our trials and offering more innovative treatment options.