Professor John Crown proposes a “virtual” National Cancer Research Centre of Ireland

Prof John Crown will chair a meeting in the Herbert Park hotel tomorrow, Friday 14th of June, to discuss the feasibility a “virtual” National Cancer Research Centre of Ireland.

The event is hosted by Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer Ireland (MTCI) and includes international experts, Sir Philip Cohen from Dundee, Prof Ulrik Ringborg from Sweden and Dr Mel Sorensen from the US, who will provide insight into international models for cancer research centres.

Professor Crown has commented that “Instead of investing funding in ‘bricks and mortar’, the virtual National Cancer Institute that I am proposing is a model which provides the opportunity for large scale cooperation between clinical, laboratory, and translational researchers, from all disciplines of cancer research in Ireland, without compromising the independence, individuality and creativity of its component investigators”.
“Ireland exists in a challenging competitive environment when it comes to attracting international research funding and clinical trials”, said Prof Crown “the lack of a truly national, umbrella organisation has hindered our ability to attract some important research into Ireland. This is a problem which will become increasingly more significant in the years to come.”

“Cooperation between the various institutions, and the brilliant researchers who have led to their success, will allow Ireland to become more attractive for research, and investment opportunities in R&D” continued Crown.

The inspiration for the idea of developing such an institute came from the success of the All-Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group (ICORG) and MTCI.

The workshop, supported by a New Foundations Award from the Irish Research Council, includes academic and clinical cancer researchers from all over Ireland, along with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and national research funding agencies.

Discussions will focus on the potential scientific and economic benefits of developing a national collaborative network of cancer researchers working together to enhance the quality and impact of cancer research in Ireland and internationally.

About MTCI: Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer Ireland ( is a Strategic Research Cluster funded by Science Foundation Ireland and led by Professor John Crown. MTCI represents one of the largest biomedical research programmes to date in the oncology arena in Ireland (€5.6 million over 5 years). It comprises a multi-institutional partnership between DCU, UCD, TCD, RCSI and affiliated teaching hospitals in Dublin. In addition, MTCI benefits from close collaboration with several major pharmaceutical companies and ICORG. The core strategic mission of MTCI is to exploit our understanding of the molecular determinants of response and resistance to targeted anti-cancer therapies to improve treatment strategies for cancer patients.

ICORG is a national, cooperative, clinical and translational group which has brought clinical trials to patients and cancer specialists throughout the country. ICORG and MTCI have forged very close structural working relationships.

For more details contact: Dr. Norma O’Donovan via email 

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