Ireland’s Virtual Cancer Research Centre – Taking the Next Steps [Press Release]
Over the last decade, there has been increasing recognition not only of the high quality of cancer research which takes place in Ireland but also of the particular challenges faced by our researchers. In the first instance, Ireland has an unusually large number of medical schools per head of population, with a consequent dispersal of research resources across multiple sites. In addition, these institutions each employ very few senior academics.
One obvious solution to this problem is to foster strong inter-institutional research linkages and structures, such as the All-Ireland Cooperative Oncology Research Group (ICORG), which was founded in 1997. ICORG was set up to provide an infrastructural matrix to facilitate the conduct of high quality clinical trials in Ireland. ICORG now has more than 425 members, including virtually all medical doctors who treat cancer in Ireland, and has facilitated more than 4,000 Irish patients getting access to cutting edge research treatments. Today it has more than 70 trials open in all areas of cancer. ICORG is an independent research charity which receives core support from the Health Research Board and the Irish Cancer Society.
The success of ICORG led a group of pre-clinical and translational researchers from DCU, TCD, UCD and RCSI to seek support from Science Foundation Ireland to found a similar but laboratory-based collaborative research consortium entitled Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer Ireland (MTCI) in 2009. MTCI and ICORG are structurally linked, and provide a unique seamless bench-bedside-bench research continuum. Over the last several years MTCI has engaged with other leading cancer researchers with the aim of developing a truly comprehensive national research entity. Moreover, MTCI has expanded internationally via successful leadership and participation in multiple European Framework programmes in the oncology arena.
A series of MTCI-sponsored meetings culminated in a public forum held with support from the Irish Research Council in June 2013 at the Herbert Park Hotel Dublin. The attendance of over 85 cancer researchers heard presentations from national and international experts and agreed that there was a need for a multi-institution, independent national cancer research centre.
Today, MTCI Foundation and its partners are delighted to announce the inauguration of the National Cancer Research Centre of Ireland (NCRCI).
The mission of the National Cancer Research Centre of Ireland is to foster and facilitate high quality, internationally recognised, cancer research in Ireland.
Admission to the Centre will be open to all cancer researchers in Ireland. In addition, there will be a strong representation from the patient advocacy communities.
NCRCI will be an open, inclusive, institution which will allow maximum cooperation between researchers throughout the length and breadth of Ireland, and from within the various disciplines of cancer research. The organisation will be independent and will seek peer-reviewed, philanthropic, and industrial support as other research charities do. The inaugural Scientific Steering Committee consists of the following:
Prof John Crown (Chair), Dr Annette Byrne, Dr Brian Moulton, Prof Bryan Hennessy, Dr Declan Soden, Prof Jochen Prehn, Prof John Fitzpatrick, Prof John O’Leary, Dr Leonie Young, Prof Lorraine O’Driscoll, Prof Martin Clynes, Prof Michael (Joe) Duffy, Prof Noel Lowndes, Dr Norma O’Donovan, Dr Patrick Kiely, Dr Ray McDermott, Dr Robert O’Connor, Prof Susan Kennedy, Prof Walter Kolch, Prof William (Liam) Gallagher and Prof William Watson.
An international Scientific Advisory Board chaired by Professor Dennis Slamon of UCLA will help to provide peer review for the activities of the group.
About MTCI: MTCI 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.
About ICORG: 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 further details please contact: Justyna Kloda