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26 September 2012

Coombe to benefit from investment in new research leaders

The Health Research Board (HRB) will invest €11 million to build capacity of research leadership in hospitals through its clinician scientist programme. The investment will allow leading doctors - including the Coombe's Professor John O' Leary - to split their time between clinical practice and research, develop research questions based on clinical issues they encounter with patients, and to translate their research results into practice at the bedside.

Cancer research in the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital is just one of the areas that will benefit from this investment.

According to Enda Connolly, Chief Executive of the HRB:

'The best hospitals in the world have research at their core. The HRB Clinician Scientist Awards is part of our strategic aim to develop a culture of research and innovation in the health services, both for the benefit of patients and the Irish economy'.

A total of ten clinicians from other parts of the health service have been selected along with the Coombe's Director of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Professor John O' Leary.

Professor O'Leary's work will focus on a recently identified group of cancer cells called circulating tumour cells (CTC), which seem to play a vital role in the way cancer spreads to different sites within the body. These CTC cells are thought to direct the spread of cancer within the blood and lymphatic system and they appear to be able to evade treatments, like chemotherapy, that otherwise kill the main tumour. There are naturally occurring cells within the body, called Lymphoid cells (NK cells), which should be able to kill these CTC cells, but they don't.

Professor O'Leary's project aims to study this process in detail with a view to developing therapies that work specifically against CTC cells.

Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital
Cork St.
Dublin 8.

Tel: +353-1-408 5200
Fax: +353-1-453 6033

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