External Collaborations

The Irish Helicobacter pylori working Group (IHpWG) was established earlier last year to assess, revise and tailor current available recommendations for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori a human pathogen found in up to 25-30% of Irish adults. H. pylori infection can cause stomach ulcers and gastric cancer and when found should be eradicated. Unfortunately the success of standard treatments is falling as a result of worsening rates of H. pylori antibiotic resistance. The Irish Helicobacter pylori Working Group was specifically founded to overcome this problem and to promote best clinical practice in the management of H pylori in general. As part of this process the Group developed a consensus clinical guideline which was published earlier this year (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28079669) Following this, the group is about to launch an app called H. pylori Care.The app is designed to enhance access to the clinical guidelines and provide information on the new guidelines released by IHpWG to both clinicians and patients. 

For clinicians, it will provide clear and precise information on how to diagnose and treat the infection, along with contact information for referral centres around Ireland. The regimens for first line, second line and rescue therapies are clearly outlined, displaying dosage and duration of therapy. For patients, it will provide information on symptoms of infection and any treatment that may be prescribed. In the future, there is potential for the app to act as a reminder tool for patients to take their medication. It is hoped that this app will provide clinicians with the necessary information needed to treat this infection effectively and in turn will improve the falling eradication rates of H. pylori infection in Ireland.

The IHpWG was established in 2016 with the aid of a Health Research Board grant by its Chairperson Prof Deirdre McNamara, Associate Professor Gastroenterology and Director TAGG Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin, to address the growing problem of H. Pylori antibiotic resistance and failure of standard therapy to eradicate infection. 

Members of the Group including leading experts in gastroenterology, microbiology, hepatology and international opinion leaders in the field of H. pylori.

Multinational Study of IBD therapies and their impact on Quality of life

Irish IBD translational and clinical trials research network

European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Quality Improvement and Guideline Group

Multinational prospective study evaluating factors contributing to IBD susceptibility

Genomics Medicine Ireland: Multicentre Irish genomics study evaluating the genetic factors relevant to Inflammatory bowel disease aetiology and therapeutics

Vasorum are a successful small Irish start-up that was founded in November 2005 by James Coleman, Christopher Cummins and Robert Perryman, who have extensive experience in the medical device industry and in particular in the development of vascular closure devices. Vasorum is developing medical devices for the interventional cardiology and radiology markets. Its first product is the Celt ACD®, used to close arterial puncture holes. Vasorum, with the aid of TAGG, is currently conducting animal studies to develop and refine a suturing technique for the treatment of obesity.

EndoDex is a research project in the School of Computer Science and Statistics in Trinity College. The scope of the research is to investigate possibilities of automatic quality assessment in colonoscopy. During the last 5 years, we have developed a system that automatically measures quality criteria of colonoscopy procedures. The criteria are inferred from the endoscopic video and readings of a motion sensor, which is placed at the anal orifice.

In the study we propose to investigate to what degree our automated system agrees with manual assessments of quality criteria performed by experts. For this purpose, we intend to record a number of colonoscopy procedures performed on a colonoscopy simulator in multiple centres. These recordings will then be assessed by both the automated system and a number of experts. No patients will be involved. The task for the endoscopists is to find markers in the colon model. TAGG members from St. James’s Hospital and Tallaght Hospital participated in the Endodex study in June and July of 2013 and are currently engaging with Katrina Bradley, CEO of the newly formed Endodex Ltd.

MitaMed is a medical company that is focused on making innovative cancer therapies available to patients and clinicians. Its aim is to provide minimally invasive cancer therapy as a treatment option for internal, solid tumours.

The EndoVE® is the first device developed by Mitamed and allows for the endoscopic treatment of colorectal tumours. The treatment is conducted under sedation in less than 30minutes in an outpatient basis. We are currently conducting a clinical trial in Tallaght Hospital with the aid of TAGG to validate the approach, which utilises a fraction of the normal dose of chemotherapy. This is a study to establish the efficacy and safety of treating patients with inoperable colorectal cancer using the EndoVE® to facilitate direct chemotherapy tumour absorption. The study involves the recruitment of 10 patients with inoperable colorectal cancer.

BioInnovate Ireland is a specialist training Fellowship programme on medical device innovation and product design. It is based on the Biodesign programme offered at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. The Fellowship programme is based on the recruitment of teams of four Fellows, which include medical, engineering, and business graduates who follow a ten month programme where they Identify clinical needs through clinical immersion, Invent solutions to meet these unmet needs and Implement a plan to prototype a solution and develop a business plan for the medical device to reach the market to enable these solutions to enhance patient care. The focus of the Fellowship programme in 2013 was on Gastroenterology and Orthopaedics and several BioInnovate Fellows were facilitated through its connection with TAGG, to undergo placement in the Tallaght Hospital and St. James’s Hospital.

In Ireland approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, with 900 dying from it annually. This research aims to understand the motivators and barriers to participating in screening by faecal immunochemical testing (FIT).

We are using a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews to generate in-depth and theoretical explanations for phenomena observed at an aggregate statistical level, thus enhancing the potential value of the research.

The National Cancer Registry and University College Cork are collaborating with TAGG to carry out this research among those invited to participate in the Tallaght Bowel Cancer Screening Pilot Programme. This research will improve our understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, awareness and behaviours that influence participation, and more importantly non-participation, in FIT based screening. This in turn will feed into the development of strategies to improve screening participation, ensuring that the screening offered to the population is a success, and that fewer people in Ireland are diagnosed with, and die from colorectal cancer. This research is funded by the Irish Cancer Society.

Each year appropximately 447,000 Europeans are diagnosed with CRC (colorectal cancer). The current non-invasive screening tool that is employed is the fecal immunochemical test (FIT). A number of FIT tests are available; they use different antibodies, which results in varying sensitivity and studies have shown that detection of a single biomarker is not sensitive or specific enough to yield an accurate diagnosis. We propose to develop an in-vitro diagnostic tool that can be deployed at a primary healthcare location, which can rapidly and accurately detect multiple biomarkers of colorectal cancer from fecal fluid analysis. This proposed method will lead to improved CRC detection including early stage detection and will reduce the burdens on the health care system by reducing the incidence of false positives. TAGG is part of a consortium that consists of academic partners from different disciplines including biochemistry, nanoelectronics and clinical, a wide range of end-users to validate the technology and medical device SMEs to ensure the tool is suitable for market.