TBSI Researchers Lead €2.5million Project to Tackle Autoimmune Diseases

21 November 2015

Researchers from the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) have been awarded €2.5million to work on biomarkers and drug targets for autoimmune and other immune-mediated diseases.

This funding has been provided by SFI and international biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, to support four new research positions over the next three years.

SFI and Abbvie have provided the funding for TBSI researchers to develop new drug targets and research biomarkers important in autoimmune diseases.

Professor of Experimental Immunology in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, Kingston Mills, will lead the project.

Professor Mills said: “Inflammation is a vital process in fighting infection. However, if uncontrolled, it can contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis.  This collaborative research project with AbbVie, a major biopharmaceutical company, will focus on identifying and building our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause inflammation to assist in developing new disease markers and drug targets for the treatment of a range of inflammatory diseases.” 

The funding allocation was announced today at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle, by Minister for Jobs, Mr Richard Bruton, T.D.

Minister Richard Bruton, T.D, said: “I welcome the establishment of these two new research collaborations by AbbVie.  It clearly demonstrates the importance and value of Government supporting high quality researchers in our academic institutes which enables them to partner with multinational companies to undertaken research in Ireland. AbbVie is a world-leading biopharmaceutical company and this builds on considerable investments made by AbbVie in Ireland earlier this year.”

Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., Vice President, Pharmaceutical Discovery, AbbVie, said: “AbbVie has a long history in Ireland and the country has contributed greatly to our global success.  Combined with our existing manufacturing operations, these new research collaborations will foster continued innovation in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, one of our most important therapeutic areas. We hope to unlock the potential for significant advancements for patients with serious disease.”

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s are common (affect 5% of the global population, two thirds of them female) and debilitating. To develop new treatments we need to better understand the underlying mechanisms, which is the focus of these research collaborations. By partnering our leading researchers with those in a major pharmaceutical company like AbbVie we can hopefully accelerate the discovery of new knowledge which will lead to improved treatments and outcomes for patients. We are delighted that AbbVie - a global company - choose to partner with Irish researchers – this is a positive reflection of the quality and relevance of Irish scientific research – excellence and impact." 

Media Contact

Thomas Deane, Press Officer for the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685

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