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Behind the scenes look at cancer research in UCD Conway Institute

Thursday, 6 May, 2021

Cancer patients and their families were given a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the ongoing cancer research in the UCD Conway Institute and Systems Biology Ireland, as part of the fifth UCD Patient Voice in Cancer Research event on Friday, 21st September 2018.

The laboratory tours, which were led by senior scientists and their research teams, looked at a range of topics from how communication is broken in cancer cells to using biomarkers and risk calculators to predict the need for a biopsy in the diagnosis of prostate and breast cancer.

Behind the scenes look at cancer research in UCD Conway Institute - collage
Academic lead for the initiative, Dr Amanda McCann, Associate Professor, UCD School of Medicine and Senior Fellow of UCD Conway Institute said, “This event came about as a direct result of patients telling us that they want to know more about the research that is happening here in University College Dublin, see the research facilities and hear about the very exciting possibilities that may ultimately impact on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients in the future.”

Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives from patient advocacy and support groups; Movember Foundation, the Marie Keating Foundation, Purple House, OVACARE / SOCKS ISGO, ARC Cancer Support Centres, Lymphoedema Ireland, MAC Men against Cancer. Also exhibiting were MedEx Wellness, a community-based chronic illness rehabilitation programme located at Dublin City University; Theya Healthcare, who specialise in post-surgical lingerie, as well as EU funded industry-academia collaborative research projects for brain and colorectal cancer, Gliotrain & Colossus.

Tina O’Sullivan, a patient representative on the UCD Patient Voice in Cancer Research steering group responsible for coordinating the event exhibition said, “We were delighted to welcome so many exhibitors to join this event, which was a fantastic opportunity for patients to hear first-hand how these organisations can support them in their cancer journey. The exhibitors also felt it was very informative as they were able to share information and ideas with fellow exhibitors which will ultimately be of great benefit to the patient”.

The UCD Patient Voice in Cancer Research is an initiative bringing together people living with cancer and their families with health care professionals, academic and clinical researchers; clinicians, patient advocates; funding agencies, policy makers and charity groups. It provides an open forum in which to identify the questions and needs that matter most to those living with a cancer diagnosis and those most likely to improve the relevance of cancer research.

While public and patient involvement (PPI) in research is a relatively new concept in Ireland, there are many examples of PPI in the United Kingdom and in Europe in the last ten years. Patient involvement in research can help to identify what research is important to fund, influence the way research is planned and how it will be carried out as well as improving the experience for people taking part in the research.

The UCD Patient Voice in Cancer Research steering group includes patients, scientists, health care professionals and patient advocacy groups. Patients and their families interested in hearing more about cancer research in University College Dublin and similar events under this initiative should email patientvoicecancer@ucd.ie or telephone (01) 716 6809.

Laboratory Tours (held on 21st September 2018)
Tour 1: "From cells to proteins; from proteins to networks: how do we find out how the cell communicates with the world and how communication is broken in cancer cells?" - Dr David Gomez

Tour 2: "Finding new treatments and biomarkers for breast and prostate cancer" – Dr Maria Prencipe and Dr Arman Rahman.

Tour 3: "Controlling the Spread of Cancer” - Associate Professor Margaret McGee

Tour 4: "Prostate cancer a 3-pronged approach: Prevention, Detection and Monitoring" - Associate Professor Antoinette Perry

Tour 5: "Tumour Cell Tweeting, communication between cancer cells using nanoparticles" - Associate Professor Amanda McCann

Tour 6: "Finding new therapeutic targets for malignant melanoma” — explore how we use a combination of cell biology and computer simulations to tackle skin cancer - Dr Jens Rauch

Tour 7: “Biomarkers and risk calculators to predict the need for a biopsy in the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer – Multidisciplinary approach” - Professor William Watson