Date: 
November 1, 2017

Information evening to highlight leading blood cancer research taking place on our doorstep

Blood Cancer Network Ireland hosting public event and tour of its Galway research facility.

Members of the public have the opportunity to learn about leading cancer research taking place on their doorstep when Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) hosts a blood cancer information evening.

What: Blood Cancer Information Evening

Who: Blood Cancer Network Ireland

Where: Room 2010, Top Floor, Clinical Sciences Building, Galway University Hospital

When: Monday, 6th November, 7-9pm

Blood cancer is an umbrella term for cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. They can be classified into three main groups: leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Together, they comprise nearly 10 per cent of all cancers, with more than 1,600 people across Ireland diagnosed annually. About 700 people here die from blood cancers each year.

Funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland, BCNI’s pioneering research gives blood cancer patients in Ireland the opportunity to be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-changing drugs and treatments through early stage clinical trials.

Now, the public can hear for themselves the life-saving work being carried out by BCNI’s researchers, as well as get a tour of the clinical research facility used by BCNI researchers in Galway University Hospital (GUH).

Speakers at this free public event include:
  • Professor Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director and Consultant Haematologist, GUH: ‘Overview of blood cancers and recent advances in treatment’.
  • Mary Coyne, blood cancer patient: ‘My experience with blood cancer’.
  • Dr Gráinne Gannon, Clinical Trials Coordinator, Clinical Research Facility, GUH: ‘The importance of clinical trials’.
  • Jess Walsh, Research Nurse, Clinical Research Facility, GUH: ‘What it means to be a clinical trial participant’.
  • Dr Sandra Healy, BCNI Program Manager: ‘What is a blood cancer biobank and registry and why do we need them?’

Speaking ahead of the talk, Prof Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director, said:

"Over the past few decades, science has advanced quickly and opened doors for more precise treatment, and we have seen exciting progress in our understanding and ability to treat blood cancers. Survival rates reflect our remarkable progress in diagnosis and treatment. In Ireland, the five-year net survival for someone diagnosed with multiple myeloma, for example, has nearly doubled in the period from 1994-2013 , and continues to improve. Despite this progress, the need is still great for continued investment in clinical research and innovation in this field, but also for patients to recognize their symptoms earlier.

“We hope that our information evening will shed light on the important work my colleagues in Blood Cancer Network Ireland are carrying out in blood cancer research – work that has the potential to save lives. So much of this work would not happen without the cancer patients who volunteer to participate in our clinical trials – to them we are truly grateful.”

BCNI’s Blood Cancer Information Evening is open to patients, their families and anyone interested in learning more about blood cancers. To register for this free event please email BCNI@nuigalway.ie. For more information and directions to the venue see bloodcancers.ie/newsevents.

About Blood Cancer Network Ireland

Blood cancer is an umbrella term for cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. Most types of blood cancer are rare, life-threatening conditions with small patient populations. There are over 140 different types of blood cancers, which can be classified into three main groups: leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. 

There are effective treatments for some types of blood cancer, however some blood cancers become resistant to the treatment and patients relapse. There are also some blood cancers for which there are no effective treatments so there is an urgent need for new therapies.

Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) is a collaborative group of doctors and scientists that have come together with the aim of increasing our understanding of blood cancers and developing new treatments for this disease. The network is funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland and its members are based in universities and hospitals in Galway, Dublin and Cork.

BCNI is unique because it is a nationwide effort that focuses on three main areas:
  1. Early stage clinical trials (phase 1 trials) which are tests designed to develop new and improved ways to treat blood cancers. This will give Irish patients access to innovative new drugs and drug combinations and an enhanced level of care which will potentially lead to better outcomes for those patients.
  2. Set up a blood cancer biobank. This means blood and bone marrow samples from patients will be stored or “banked”. Scientists working on blood cancers will be able to access and analyse these samples to understand how blood cancers develop and how they become resistant to treatment.
  3. Establish a blood cancer registry. The registry will collect patients’ clinical information so we can better understand what treatments work best and it will collect patient reported information so we can better understand what impact the treatment has on the patients’ quality of life. This will help direct health resources to where they are most effective and where they have the most benefit for patients.

Overall the network aims to enhance research into blood cancers and, most importantly, the clinical trials will give Irish patients access to new drugs and drug combinations that would not otherwise be possible. For more information see bloodcancers.ie.