UCC is the “EndoVe” of other Colleges

The results of the first clinical trial of a new endoscopic device, developed by Cork Cancer Research Centre in UCC, will be revealed today, October 28, 2010 at a seminar in Dublin.  The device allows chemotherapeutic drugs to be delivered in a localised way for colorectal tumours, including currently inoperable ones.

It is one of seven successful HRB-funded research developments being showcased today at a seminar organised by the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA). The seminar is designed to bring together clinical researchers and the medical technologies industry to promote opportunities for commercialisation.

University College Cork

“The first clinical trial of our patented device, called EndoVe, involving a patient with inoperable colorectal cancer has been successful in eliminating the tumour,” says Dr. Declan Soden, Cork Cancer Research Centre and co-inventor.

“The device makes the tumour tissue porous, meaning the tumour absorbs chemotherapy drugs more efficiently, so less of the chemotherapy drug is used,’ explains Dr Soden.   This means ease of treatment and minimal side-effects for the patient. And because the chemotherapy drugs are only absorbed in the area treated by the electrical field, it results in lower drug concentrations and potentially shorter stays in hospital. This reduces costs significantly for the health care provider,” he adds.

“It offers great hope for patients who would be unable to tolerate the normal standard of care such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and has strong potential to significantly improve the way we treat internal cancers.”

“The EndoVe was developed based on experience we had using Electrochemotherapy to successfully treat over 200 hundred patients with skin based tumours, which had an 85% positive response in terms of tumour destruction. Based on these successful findings, we designed the EndoVe device to provide an effective internal treatment that is also low in toxicity and invasiveness leading to less disruption to non-target tissues and organs,’ he says. “We are delighted to be able to report the first results in of our Phase 1 clinical trial.

The EndoVe device has reached phase 1 clinical trial stage with the support of Enterprise Ireland, Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland and the EU.

Commenting on the HRB-IMDA seminar, Mary Harney, Minister for Health and Children says;
‘This new device has tremendous potential to tackle tumours, reduce side-effects and improve patient quality of life. This seminar provides the perfect opportunity to examine the commercial opportunities that emerge from health research”

The Minister also strongly endorsed the importance of the development of a new code of ethics for the Medical Devices Industry by the IMDA, which she said would ‘ensure rigor and transparency in the system.’

Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the HRB says;

“The HRB has invested more than €144 million over the past five years in hundreds of research projects with potential to deliver real technologies, devices and therapeutics. The seminar today provides the opportunity to illustrate the value of investing in research, for patient care, effective health service delivery and for economic benefit. We hope to see great ideas turned into commercial realities by bringing the research ingenuity and the business know-how of these two groups together.”

IMDA Director, Sharon Higgins says;

“Ireland’s medical technology sector is now the second largest exporter of medical products in Europe, after Germany, with exports climbing by over nine per cent in 2009. Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the growing global market for medical technologies, but we must develop and integrate the range of strategic competencies and support systems to ensure we continue to compete as an innovative, high value-added economy.

We have worked closely with the HRB to ensure today’s seminar provides a focused opportunity for a ‘meeting of minds’ between industry and the clinical community.  I have no doubt that this will result in new products being developed that will have both health and economic benefits for us all”

According to Professor Gerry O’Sullivan, Founding Director of CCRC;

“There is powerful potential for EndoVe not only to locally eliminate internal tumours, but in the next phase of the research, currently underway with support from the HRB, we can potentially deliver genes that will make the treatment systemic, eliminating secondaries all over the body,” says.  “The future is bright and the work coming out of Ireland at this time is extremely exciting.”

Professor O’Sullivan will give the keynote address at the HRB-IMDA Seminar on the future direction of cancer research and opportunities for commercialisation.

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