Date: 
February 7, 2019

Irish Cancer Society announces new investment in cancer research leadership

The Irish Cancer Society has today announced a major investment to foster the growth of cancer research, which it hopes will significantly benefit people with cancer in Ireland.

Associate Professor Catherine Kelly has been awarded a two-year Clinician Research Leadership grant to advance high quality cancer research. Prof Kelly is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin and Cavan General Hospital, and chair of the Cancer Trials Ireland breast cancer clinical trials group.
This Irish Cancer Society grant will allow Prof Kelly to dedicate two days a week to developing and growing new areas of cancer research for the benefit of patients in Ireland. 

As those at the forefront of patient care, clinicians such as Prof Kelly are well placed to lead on research that can make improvements in cancer care and treatment.

Prof Kelly said: “As a Consultant Medical Oncologist I see approximately 3,000 people with cancer in follow-up and 380 new patients in the Mater University Hospital and Cavan General Hospital annually. 

“I understand on a very personal level the incredible impact successful new drugs have on patient’s lives but also the absolute devastation when there are no effective treatment options available for others. We need new treatments for cancer and to get them we need to have cancer clinical trials so we can learn which drugs can improve on the ones we already have. 

“In my role as Chair of Cancer Trials Ireland Breast Cancer Group I am responsible for making sure that people with breast cancer have as many trial options as possible regardless of their type or stage of breast cancer. 

“Receiving the Irish Cancer Society’s Clinician Leadership Award means I will have time to develop cancer trials and increase the number of them available for people with breast cancer in Ireland. 

“I will also use my dedicated research time to find answers to important questions - 'Why do some patients stop taking their hormone treatments for breast cancer?'; 'How do we explain the results of genomic test that work out a patient’s risk of cancer recurrence?' and 'How do we go about addressing the misunderstandings that exist about cancer clinical trials?'”

Prof Kelly was awarded his research grant from the Irish Cancer Society after a competitive and thorough application process, with proposals strenuously vetted and reviewed by an international, external panel of research professionals to ensure the very best research gets funded.

The Irish Cancer Society will continue to monitor Prof Kelly’s progress throughout the funding term, ensuring that her research is carried out to world-class standards. As part of the funding agreement, measures will be put in place to ensure that Prof Kelly’s dedicated research time will have no negative impact on patients and patient care.