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Translational Cancer

Leaders: Professor John Reynolds and Professor John O’Leary.

Within the Discipline of Surgery, Professor John Reynolds, and Prof Jacintha O’Sullivan, Dr. Graham Pidgeon, Dr. Joanne Lysaght, Dr Stephen Maher and Dr. Elizabeth Connolly have programmes of research on malignancies including: Oesophageal, Gastric, Colorectal, and Breast; Preneoplastic Diseases, specifically Barrett’s oesophagus and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

The Discipline of Histopathology has adopted a thematic approach to solid tumour pathobiology, the process of metastasis, development of molecular diagnostics and incorporation of novel molecular assays into clinical trials.
PI’s including Prof John O’Leary, Prof Orla Sheils, Prof Stephen Finn, Prof Mary Toner, Dr. Esther O’Regan, Dr. Cara Martin, Dr. Steven Gray and Dr. Sharon O’Toole have active programmes across a range of cancer fields including Ovary, Cervix, Lung, Colorectal, Thoracic, Thyroid, Melanoma and Head & Neck cancers.

Clinical input from colleagues including Prof Paul Browne, Prof. E. Vandenberghe, Professor T. Lynch, Prof T McDermott, Prof Noreen Gleeson, Prof Con Timon, Prof Alan Irvine, Dr. Patrick Ormond, Dr. Marie-Louise Healy, Dr. Sinead Cuffe, Dr. John Kennedy, Dr. Dearbhaile O Donnell, Prof. David Gallagher, Prof Colm Bergin are imperative to the translational imperative of TTMI’s research.

Overarching themes within the Disciplines include:

  • Obesity, Inflammation and Cancer,
  • Cellular Instability and Metabolism,
  • Signatures Predicting Response to Neoadjuvant Therapy,
  • Cancer and the Immune System,
  • Virally driven cancers,
  • Drug Discovery,
  • Inflammation and Cancer,
  • MiRNA profiling,
  • The cancer inflammasome,
  • Cancer stem cell biology,
  • Evasion of Immune Surveillance in Metastasis
  • Use of antibody drug conjugate systems (ADCs) in cancer therapeutics,
  • 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing of solid tumours,
  • RAMAN spectroscopic analysis in pre-cancer and cancer.
  • Novel Molecular Diagnostics

Professor Mathias Senge is a Medicinal Chemist (Chair of Organic Chemistry, School of Chemistry, TCD) who is based in TTMI to strategically translate new chemical entities identified by his team into the cancer drug discovery arena. Professor Senge has on-going collaborations with Clinician Scientists across the TTMI Cancer focus.
Translational projects include:

  • Photodynamic cancer therapy, oesophageal cancer - towards new therapies,
  •  Molecular Tuning of Porphyrins for Biomedical Applications,
  • Dual modality photosensitizers for treatment and diagnosis of malignant diseases.
  • Photomedicine.

Dr. John Gilmer, also a Medicinal Chemist (School of Pharmacy & Pharmacetical Sciences, TCD) is an expert on the physiological and therapeutic role of bile acids and a PI on the HRB Translational Award; Oesophageal cancer - towards new therapies. His team has designed multiple therapeutic bile acid analogues (including those with ability to modulate the Glucocorticoid receptor) with relevance to treatment of diseases such as oesophageal cancer.

TTMI will engage across THI.

The Pancreatic Disease Research Programme based at Tallaght Hospital led by Professor Kevin Conlon, Chair of Surgery (TCD), Consultant Pancreatic Surgeon Tallaght Hospital / St Vincent's University Hospital focuses on the clinical and nutritional aspects of acute severe (ASP) and chronic pancreatitis (CP), including sarcopenia, vitamin deficiency, malabsorption, and bone health.

This is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional programme involving Clinical Chemistry, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Genetics, Nutrition, and HPB Surgery. Recent published work has shown in prospective cohort studies an increased prevalence of osteoporosis in Irish patients with chronic pancreatitis. The group has an ongoing investigation of the prevalence and incidence of this disease nationally, and is compiling a national registry. Key questions relating to aetiology, demographics, economic/social impact, rates of hospitalization and access to services will be acquired.  In conjunction with the Department of Public Health and Primary Care (TCD / Tallaght Hospital), The National Centre for Genetics (UCD / Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin), and the Centre for Cystic Fibrosis (UCD / St Vincent's University Hospital), the group plans to evaluate the genetic aspects of acute recurrent and chronic pancreatitis particularly focusing on the potential impact of sub-clinical cystic fibrosis. This Programme is currently funded by grants from the Heath Research Board, The Meath Foundation and industry partners.