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Mercy Hospital Foundation
Cork Cancer Research Centre | Print |

Cancer Research seeks an understanding for the fundamental mechanisms mediating induction of tumour development and subsequent dissemination within the human body. Such insight will help prevent suffering and death through the application of strategies targeted at disease prevention, earlier diagnosis and development of innovative and effective methods of treatment.

About Us

The Cork Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) was established in 1999 as collaboration between the Cork University Hospitals and University College Cork and was officially opened by the Minister for Health, Mr. Micheal Martin in 2000. Financial support has been received by both National and International funding agencies (European Union, Science Foundation Ireland, Cancer Research Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Higher Education Authority etc.) and this money has been used strategically to assist in the hiring of key personnel and to assist in the establishment of several research programmes.

The CCRC is distinctive in its multidisciplinary approach in addressing cancer research challenges, representing long-term collaborations between research groups based in University College Cork and its associated teaching hospitals. Physically, the CCRC is currently based in the Mercy University Hospital, and the Biosciences institute, UCC, and its integration with University-based research is evident from its many collaborations with scientists and physicians based in the nearby UCC Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, Surgery, Biochemistry, and Food Science and Technology; the Irish National Food Biotechnology Centre (NFBC); the Irish National Microelectronic Research Centre (NMRC); the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital, the Cork University Hospital, and with more removed groups including those at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Beaumont Hospital and Belfast City Hospital. International alliances have been instigated with research groups and innovative companies throughout Europe and the United States of America . These partnerships have helped to ensure the emergence of the group in Cork as significant contributors in niche areas of Cancer Research.

Staff

The research team at present include:
Director – Prof. Gerald C. O'Sullivan.
General Manager – Dr. Declan Soden, PhD.
Principle Investigator – Dr. Sharon McKenna, PhD.
Principle Investigator – Dr. Orla Barry, PhD.
Clinical Researcher – Dr. John Larkin, MB BCh BAO AFRCSI (Hons)
Clinical Researcher – Dr. Maria Whelan, MB BCh BAO B Med Sci (Hons)
Clinical Researcher – Dr. James Cashman, MB BCh BAO B Med Sci (Hons)
Senior Research Scientist – Tumour Immunology: Dr. Mark Tangney, PhD.
Senior Research Scientist – Micro metastases: Dr. Breda Kiely, PhD.
Senior Research Scientist –Gene & Drug Delivery: Dr. Melanie Walsh, PhD. Research Scientist – Tumour Drug Resistance: Dr. Rebecca Hourihan, PhD.

The team also includes:
Research Scientist – Gene & Drug Delivery: Dr Yvonne O'Shea, PhD.
Research Scientist – Immunology: Mr. Gearoid O'Sullivan, BSc (Hons) M.Sc.
Research Scientist – Immunology: Dr. Brid Deasy, PhD .
Research Scientist – Immunology: Dr. Geraldine O'Sullivan – Coyne, PhD.
Research Scientist – Immunology: Ms Michelle Miles, BSc (Hons) M.Sc.

Postgraduate Students
Ms. Yvonne Clune, B.Sc (Hons)
Ms. Tracey O'Donovan, B.Sc (Hons)
Ms. Michelle Nyhan, B.Sc (Hons)
Mr. Raymond Kelly, B.Sc (Hons)
Mr. James Murphy, B.Sc (Hons)
Mr. Timothy Doody, B.Sc (Hons)

Nurses
Ms. Claire Cronin, Clinic for Unresponsive Tumours.
Ms. Alice Conroy, Cancer Prevention Clinic

Administrator / Technicians
Ms. Ruth Gleeson, Laboratory Manager.

Current CCRC Research Themes

Primary Tumour Prevention


CCRC Projects

Colon Cancer Prevention

  1. The Role of Pre, Pro and Synbiotics in Inhibiting Colon Cancer.
  2. Chemo- Preventative Strategies
  3. Investigation into the Therapeutic Potential of Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) Inhibition in Oesophagal Cancer.
  4. The Colorectal Cancer Prevention Clinic.

Preventing Secondary Cancers – Metastasis

  1. Prevalence of Bone Marrow Micro metastases in Esophagogastric Cancer Patients with and without Neoadjuvant Chemo radiotherapy
  2. Examination of the Role and the Prognostic Significance of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) Tumour Suppressor Gene.

Cell Signalling

  1. Examining the possible interaction between the IGF's and ß-Catenin in oesphagageal carcinomas.
  2. Investigation of the role(s) of different kinases namely as “pro-growth” tumourigenic proteins in renal and oesphagael carcinogensis.
  3. Drug Resistance in Oesphageal Cancer.
  4. The Role of Connexin 43 in gap junction communication: Relationship with Oesphageal and Kidney Cancer.

Leukaemia Research

  1. Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia: The role of Ber-Abl in Chemotherapy Resistant Cells. Development of Improved Treatment Therapies for Unresponsive Tumours
  2. Gene and Drug Delivery to Tumour Tissue via Electroporation
  3. Nanoparticles for site specific Gene Delivery.
  4. Improved Gene and Drug Delivery via Ultrasound.

Research Strategies

An Expanded Role – Education & Dissemination Education:
The Cork Cancer Research Centre aims to complement its fundamental research activities with a programme designed to further educate both young and established investigators and the public.

The educational initiative involves:
Extending invitations to prominent scientists and physicians to present their views on cancer, its induction and dissemination at formal seminars targeted at both the public and scientific communities. Prof. Frank Gannon Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation gave a talk to CCRC Researchers and Staff in January 2005 at the Biosciences Institute and toured the CCRC facilities.

Convening a high profile scientific meeting at which those leading cancer research and therapeutic developments are invited. The All Ireland Cancer Consortium meeting was held in Cork in 2004 at the Rochestown Park Hotel. Meetings such as this jointly hosted with University College Cork, provide opportunities for interaction between investigators with diverse experience and place an emphasis on the participation and training of young researchers. Over 100 cancer researchers gave presentations and Dr. Sean McCarthy, CCRC was awarded the best individual oral presentation prize.

Development of formal workshops at which emerging technologies are demonstrated and taught to those interested in applying such technologies to the area of cancer research. A bio techniques course is being run at University College Cork in collaboration with the CCRC. Techniques being taught include flow cytometry, histology and DNA Delivery.

Establishment of a public access clinic focused on provision of support for those seeking advice and simple explanations of cancer and its diagnosis. The CCRC has a specialised nurse working in the cancer prevention clinic providing patients with the necessary information they require and in so doing assisting them to cope with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Promotion of the CCRC Website – www.ccrc.ie . This site provides up to date information on the centre's activities and also provides links to other cancer specific internet sites.