11 January 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
Four out of ten people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes but innovations right here in Ireland are not only creating high end jobs but are helping to develop new treatments in the fight against diseases like cancer.
Speaking at a conference in University College Cork on biobanking and medical research, Cork based MEP Deirdre Clune has said that UCC and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics is leading the charge in pitching Ireland as a hub for cutting edge medical research and development.
“Biobanking, the storage of samples like tissue and blood from patients, can be used to share medical know how across Europe and allow us to gain a greater understanding of how we are fighting diseases. It aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia.”
Four out of ten people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. The development of more effective, targeted treatments and tests for cancer depend on how much we know about its development. Large research studies using quality tissue samples from patients with cancer collected and stored in biobanks can help to improve the chances of cancer survival amongst patients. There are currently more than forty biobanks in Ireland and UCC and the Insight centre is at the forefront of an initiative to tap into a pan European infrastructure of biobanks and shared medical research.
The Ireland South MEP has stressed the importance of EU funds such as the Horizon 20/20 programme which supports research and development saying that Ireland continues to punch above our weight when it comes to funding and this is thanks to the continued efforts of both Irish government officials in Brussels and the organisations, like UCC, who are putting forward the applications.
“Next year we will see the mid-term review of the Horizon 2020 programme. It is imperative that EU budgets like Horizon 20/20 are not cut but are instead focused on developing key areas of research that help us to better understand the world we live in.”
“Ireland has been very successful in attracting inward investment in the medical sector. Our unique position and relationship with the United States presents many possibilities for advancing global collaboration; and Ireland can be seen as a Gateway to Europe for research collaborations.”
“This is not only about creating high end jobs outside of Dublin but also about positioning ourselves as a hub for innovation in research and development.”
“I’m looking forward to working with UCC to develop some concrete initiatives and suggestions which can be brought to the attention of the policy leadership in Brussels in terms of defining, implementing, and supporting initiatives which will enable innovations here in Ireland.