Talk tackles breast cancer research
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October The Irish Cancer Society hosted a public event which discussed some of the major advances in research in this space in Ireland.
The Irish Cancer Society Decoding Cancer event: ‘Tackling Breast Cancer with more Precision’ saw Director of BREAST-PREDICT, Professor William Gallagher, outline the latest advances in our understanding of breast cancer and how targeted treatments are tackling the disease in all its types and forms.
Liam described many of the advances made by Irish researchers in the field, in particular those linked to BREAST-PREDICT, which has given rise to seven breast cancer diagnostic tests in development and 16 novel drug therapies in pre-clinical testing.
Since October 2013, BREAST-PREDICT (the Irish Cancer Society’s first Collaborative Cancer Research Centre) has pooled together the skills and expertise of more than 50 cancer researchers to find better ways to prevent, detect, and treat breast cancer. This ‘virtual centre’ is led by Professor Gallagher and is funded through a €7.5 million investment by the Irish Cancer Society over five years.
The diagnostic tests in development include tests to predict risk of relapse for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and new, potentially more effective tests to monitor patients throughout treatment, to ensure that they are responding well to their medical care.
The new drugs in pre-clinical testing range from some at the early stage of testing, under laboratory conditions, to others which are at or close to the clinical trial stage.
BREAST-PREDICT brings together researchers from six academic institutions across Ireland: UCD, TCD, RCSI, DCU, NUIG and UCC, and a nationwide clinical trials group, Cancer Trials Ireland. As a multi-disciplinary centre, it unites breast cancer experts with different skills to work towards a common goal.
The centre collects information and tumour samples from nearly every breast cancer patient in the country, with their consent. Using these valuable resources, researchers are improving our understanding of how this disease can spread and become resistant to treatment, and finding ways further improve breast cancer outcome with new and better therapies.
Throughout October, the Irish Cancer Society’s ‘Cups against cancer’ campaign asked people to get their cups out for a good cause and host a fundraising coffee morning. 2,900 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland every year, that’s eight women every day, and money raised from the campaign will be used to fund more lifesaving cancer research and services to support those affected.