BREAKTHROUGH Cancer Research (BCR) has strong West Cork ties as it funds Cork Cancer Research Centre which was set up by the late Prof Gerry O’Sullivan from Caheragh. Gerry died from multiple myeloma, a type ofblood cancer now being researched by them.
His daughter Orla Dolan, head of BCR, explained how her dad died from this disease because the treatments he was on stopped working before he could have a stem cell transplant.
‘He would be so proud to think that we are supporting work trying to overcome this drug resistance. We hope to change how many can survive after this diagnosis – that is the power of research. It is the only thing that will create new and more effective treatments for currently incurable diseases like multiple myeloma, and give back birthdays, weddings and futures,’ she said.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, with approximately 103,000 newly diagnosed cases per year worldwide. It is an incurable cancer that originates in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that makes antibodies. These cells grow uncontrollably in the bone marrow, leading to a variety of symptoms including tiredness, bone pain and increased infections.
BCR’s newly funded researchers are trying to find ways to make immunotherapies more effective, unlocking the secrets of drug resistance for multiple myeloma patients.
UCD Prof Peter O’Gorman, a consultant haematologist at the Mater University Hospital has been awarded a HRB-HRCI joint funding scheme grant with BCR as the charity partner, for research focusing on multiple myeloma (MM). His research will help understand why drug resistance to therapy develops.
Meanwhile cancer researcher and NUIG graduate Lyndsey Flanagan was awarded the Breakthrough Cancer Research Scholarship 2020. Lyndsey will also work on multiple myeloma research with Prof Siobhan Glavey and Dr Tríona Ní Chonghaile in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.