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Posted 04 February 2014

Prostate cancer researcher takes top prize at St Luke’s Young Investigators Awards

Dr Maria Prencipe, Irish Cancer Society research fellow at the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, has scooped the top prize in the prestigious 11th St Luke’s Young Investigators Awards supported by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, Dublin. She was presented with the award for her research on a protein which may cause the prostate cancer to spread beyond the organ.

Established in 2004, the St Luke’s Young Investigators Award recognises young researchers in the field of clinical, basic or translational oncology research who are in their early years of research. The award is supported by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, Dublin.

“I am delighted to win the 11th St Luke’s Young Investigators Award for my research that looks at the treatment of castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), which, despite the emergence of new treatments, is still challenging to treat,” said Dr Prencipe.

“Defining the mechanism of resistance represents a key question facing clinicians and scientists, and we have been using a combination of transcriptomics (or genome-wide expression profiling) and bioinformatics analysis with much success.”

Former UCD Professor of Surgery, Professor John Fitzpatrick, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, said: “We are incredibly proud of Dr Maria Prencipe and all the finalists who represent a cohort of future research leaders who will keep the field of cancer research vibrant with new ideas and a steadfast commitment to their field.”

“We congratulate Dr Maria Prencipe on her outstanding achievement winning the 11th St Luke’s Young Investigators Award, and encourage her to continue in her career to advance high-quality research in the area of prostate cancer in Ireland.”

This news item was published on 04 February, the annual date which marks World Cancer Day.


UCD Associate Clinical Professor Malcolm Kell, Consultant Surgeon at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, delivered the 39th St Luke’s Lecture at the event.

The lecture entitled Breast Cancer : From Halstead to Harney’ reviewed the developments in breast cancer care since the pioneering work of Dr. William Stewart Halstead who is credited with performing the first mastectomy.

The management of Breast cancer has changed dramatically since the early 1970s. Numerous studies have helped develop modern breast cancer surgery whereby conservative surgery is now the standard of care. Both the management of the breast and the axilla have evolved to not only achieve the best oncological outcomes but also limit patient morbidity from treatment. Breast reconstructive surgery is now routinely used to rebuild breasts after mastectomy and a range of techniques are now available to obtain the optimum results and also avoid potential problems associated with radiotherapy.

As our understanding of the pathogenesis of breast cancer has improved, we can now identify patients at risk and then offer genetic screening to high risk individuals. Once identified with a BRCA abnormality, patients can be radiologically screened and offered potential prophylactic measures to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Prophylactic mastectomy provides excellent risk reduction for high risk patients and novel tools are now available to measure patient quality of life after this prophylactic surgery.

Breast screening has been the model of cancer screening over the last 4 decades. However numerous controversies exist regarding the efficacy of mammographic screening. Recent evidence strongly supports mammographic screening when different screening studies are examined uniformly. The Irish Breastcheck program exemplifies best outcomes from screening, and data from the Irish program strongly supports breast cancer screening.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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Prostate Cancer Researcher takes top prize at St Luke’s Young Investigators Awards
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