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First National Paediatric Cystic Fibrosis Research Programme to strengthen CF research in Ireland
RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the National Children’s Research Centre (NCRC) today announced an exciting new partnership aimed at strengthening paediatric cystic fibrosis (CF) research at the NCRC, based at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. This will be a €1.1 million research programme which will run for five years.
This new research initiative focuses entirely on children with CF. It will strengthen paediatric CF translational research at both Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital and NCRC, and enable research findings to be translated into medical practice. It will be the first dedicated national paediatric CF research programme in Ireland. It will enable new avenues of research in to early CF lung disease in children to be developed, and a plan for a substantial translational research and innovation centre at the new children’s hospital to be established. It will also strengthen links between the NCRC, which is funded entirely through donations to the CMRF, and specialist paediatric CF centres across Ireland.
Commenting on the announcement, Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: “We are delighted to join forces and collaborate with NCRC to develop Ireland’s first national paediatric CF research programme in Ireland. As an exclusively health sciences focused institution RCSI is uniquely placed to develop and enhance translational research for the benefit of patients. Translational research links basic science research with relevant clinical questions and the aim of this research partnership is to keep young CF lungs healthy.”
The focus of the research is to develop biomarkers of lung disease in cystic fibrosis which will help to detect early lung disease in young children. Early detection and treatment will reduce disease progression and improve quality of life. This new initiative links the clinical team at our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin led by Prof. Paul McNally and the basic science team led by Dr Judith Coppinger.
Four-year-old Alfie Dardis from Stepaside was on hand with Prof. Paul McNally, RCSI Associate Professor of Paediatrics & Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine to help announce the first national paediatric Cystic Fibrosis research programme in Ireland between RCSI and the National Children’s Research Centre (NCRC).
Dr Jacinta Kelly, NCRC Chief Executive said: “This is a very exciting research partnership which will put Irish research at the forefront of paediatric CF research. Ireland has one of the highest incidences of cystic fibrosis in the world and as a direct consequence of this it has become a hub for international researchers hoping to find a cure. The development of a national paediatric CF programme will bring together research, clinical trials and clinical care for the benefit of patients.”
There are more than 600 children and 700 adults in Ireland with CF and one in 19 Irish people carry a CF gene mutation, making it the most common hereditary condition in children in Ireland. It is a progressive disease that can have a huge burden of treatment on children and their families and usually increases over time. Although survival rates have improved, it is still a debilitating condition and can result in early death from respiratory failure.
RCSI is ranked in the top 250 institutions worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016-2017). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.
The National Children’s Research Centre, Crumlin is over 50 years old and was the first dedicated research centre on the site of an Irish hospital. Today, it offers state of the art research laboratories, and a children’s clinical research unit at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, where clinical trials and studies take place. Together, these facilities allow the NCRC to support full bench to bedside research for children. It has been funded by charitable donations to CMRF, Crumlin, since its inception.
Pictured is Dr Jacinta Kelly, Chief Executive, National Children’s Research Centre; Prof. Paul McNally, RCSI Associate Professor of Paediatrics & Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine; Dr Judith Coppinger, RCSI Senior Lecturer/Principal Investigator; Prof. Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research.