Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Tánaiste backs call for All-Island Cancer Institute

Posted 1 May, 2024

An Tánaiste Micheál Martin has called for an All-Island Cancer Institute, stating initiatives such as the (opens in a new window)All-Island Cancer Research Institute (AICRI), a partnership of 10 universities which UCD co-leads, has shown a cross-border approach to cancer can deliver better outcomes for patients. 

Citing the hugely successful ‘Ireland-Northern Ireland-US National Cancer Institute Cancer Consortium’, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the Tánaiste said he favoured the establishment of an All-Island Cancer Institute while speaking at the inaugural Joint Euro-American Forum on Cancer at Farmleigh House.

Echoing the sentiment, (opens in a new window)Professor William Gallagher, Professor of Cancer Biology at UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences, and co-lead of AICRI, said he “wholeheartedly agree with the Tánaiste’s call for an All-Island Cancer Institute”.

“Our work in AICRI has demonstrated the benefit of working together on a cross-border basis. Projects such as AICRIstart, funded through the Shared Island-funded North South Research Programme, emphasise the importance of collaborative research. Critical areas of all-island partnership should encompass cancer biobanking, cross-border cancer clinical trials, and survivorship research.” 

Support for All-Island Cancer Institute was also raised by Professor Deirdre Heenan, Ulster University, and Professor Mark Lawler, Queen’s  University Belfast and Co-Lead of AICRI at the forum, as they jointly launched the ‘Cancer Knows No Borders – an all-island blueprint for cancer research and care’ at the conference.

“Our data are compelling, demonstrating how the quality of research increases with cross-border collaboration, coupled with the evidence linking quality research to better care and improved outcomes for patients,” said Professor Lawler.  

“We firmly believe that a data-enabled patient-centred All-Island Cancer Institute would deliver unparalleled benefits for the health and wealth of our societies North and South. Cancer Knows No Borders, neither should we.” 

Doctor Julie Gralow, Chief Medical Officer of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), who with Professor Lawler was Scientific Co-Chair of the Forum concurred. 

“These two days of discourse and debate have firmly embedded the concept of enhanced transatlantic cooperation as a means of delivering research-enabled enhanced cancer care on the island of Ireland. An All-Island Cancer Institute would be the logical next step.”

Professor Heenan added: “We aim to bring together the combined strengths of cancer researchers, clinicians, academics, and service users across the island of Ireland to create a blueprint to tackle this common enemy. 

“This is an opportune time to redouble our efforts to significantly improve services and outcomes for cancer patients throughout this island.” 

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Daniel Rowan, UCD Research and Innovation)