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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019

World's first collaborative cancer research centre to open in Ireland

The Irish Cancer Society made the announcement about the centre today.

Image: Female scientist via Shutterstock

IRELAND WILL BE the location of a world first in cancer research, it was announced today.

The Irish Cancer Society has said it has brought together Ireland’s leading breast cancer researchers in a new five year collaboration that aims for better treatments for breast cancer in Ireland.

Called BREAST-PREDICT, it is the country’s first Collaborative Cancer Research Centre and will see an investment by the society of €7.5 million over the next five years.

Most of Ireland’s leading breast cancer researchers will be involved, sharing resources and expertise in a project designed to predict the best treatment options for breast cancer patients.


The society’s investment of €1.5 million per year, for up to five years, is in order to join six research institutions and the All Ireland Co-Operative Oncology Research Group (ICORG) in a national collaboration.

It said that this will bring together the expertise and support of several entities in the areas of population-based, translational and clinical cancer research, and that all eight clinical cancer centres of excellence are on board.

The collaboration between over 50 Irish and world experts in breast cancer research will provide centralised access to resources, such as patient samples and technical expertise.

The ICS says this will “lead to an integrated breast cancer database and modelling of virtual cancer patients to track prognosis and therapy response”.

The first Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre will harness biological information to redefine how breast cancer is treated, with the ultimate goal of precision therapy – that is, more accurate and personalised approaches.

The ICS said the collaboration “will leverage the power of systems medicine or ‘holistic’ approaches to improve understanding of response and resistance to treatments”. It will also tackle factors which are hampering international progress in the breast cancer research arena.

These include access to tumour samples collected from the same patient over time in order to look at how tumours adapt, and improved insight into signalling networks within tumours.

Director of BREAST-PREDICT, UCD Professor William Gallagher said:

The ultimate goal of this research is personalised medicine, which allows us to tailor therapy towards individual patients based on the characteristics of their particular tumour and, thus, improve outcomes for breast cancer patients both in Ireland and worldwide.

Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Professor John Fitzpatrick said that the centre “is by far the biggest thing the Irish Cancer Society has ever done in the area of cancer research in Ireland”.

He added that BREAST-PREDICT is the first in a series of such centres that will “lead large-scale international collaborative projects in the oncology area”.

The Irish Cancer Society has contributed more than €30 million to cancer research since 1963. During that period, more than 650 important research findings have been made.


Professor William Gallagher, Director of the Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre BREAST-PREDICT, is an Associate Professor of Cancer Biology at University College Dublin.

The other bodies involved include Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin City University, National University of Ireland Galway and University College Cork alongside the All Ireland Co-Operative Oncology Research Group (ICORG).

The €7.5 million investment by the Society will come entirely from fundraising, in part due to its Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign ‘Get the Girls’.

The ICS is encouraging everyone to share in the centre’s goal by fundraising on behalf of the Irish Cancer Society this October.

For further information on the Irish Cancer Society’s research programme, Collaborative Cancer Research Centre or to make a donation, visit or contact the Irish Cancer Society on Call Save 1850 60 60 60.

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