Monday 14 October 2019

Cancer study will promote equality, say researchers

Women's Day

Participants brave yesterday’s cold weather for an International Women’s Day swim for Women’s Aid at the 40 Foot in Dublin
Participants brave yesterday’s cold weather for an International Women’s Day swim for Women’s Aid at the 40 Foot in Dublin

Fiona Dillon and Tom Brady

New research will look at gender differences in how cancer patients respond to immunotherapy in terms of the treatment and side effects.

New research will look at gender differences in how cancer patients respond to immunotherapy in terms of the treatment and side effects.

Consultant medical oncologist Professor John Crown revealed details of the new research project on International Women's Day yesterday, when he was one of seven Irish researchers who met with Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor at an event in the RDS in Dublin.

The researchers were recently awarded €1.7m in funding as part of the GENDER-NET Plus programme, a European Union initiative to promote gender equality through research.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Prof Crown said: "We are trying to predict who will benefit from immune therapies."

He said researchers are also trying to predict who will get the side effects of these therapies, because they can be quite formidable.

St Vincent's University Hospital, along with centres in Milan, Oslo and Sweden, will be involved in the ground-breaking research, which will be starting soon.

Prof Crown said that total funding of €200,000 has been awarded for the Irish arm of the project over three years. He said he would hope the number of patients being recruited into the project will be in the range of "perhaps 30 to 40 patients a year".

These will be "people with the types of cancer where immunotherapy is of relevance".

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina invited 150 women researchers to Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday in celebration of the value of science and the work of female scientists.

Elsewhere, a new campaign, 'Inspiring Women', that is seeking 1,000 professional women to speak with school students about succeeding in their career, was launched at The Foundry building at Google.

Under the plan, professionals will give one hour of their time to speak to students at primary and secondary level about their career to date. It's part of the Inspiring the Future Ireland (ITFI) initiative run by South Dublin County Partnership.

Separately, speaking as probationer gardaí graduated from the training college in Templemore yesterday, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said 12 pioneering women, of a total of 400 recruits, entered the Garda in 1959.

"It could not have been easy for women to enter such a male bastion, but those pioneers opened the door for others to follow," he said.

Irish Independent

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