Funded by the Irish Cancer Society, Offaly scholar Patricia Cleary is this month the first in the world to test a new breast cancer drug that it’s hoped will enhance how chemotherapy works.
The laboratory-based research is being carried out by Ms Cleary at NUI Galway, and is looking into how cancer cells survive and become resistant to treatment.
One in ten women in Ireland will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, leading the Irish Cancer Society to invest significantly in research in the area.
Speaking this week head of research at the Irish Cancer Society Professor John Fitzpatrick said the group is encouraged by preliminary data from Ms Cleary’s research.
Explaining her work Ms Cleary said she’s “looking at a new drug that no one in the world is currently working with in breast cancer that stops the survival factor XBP1s from working in breast cancer cells. Initial findings from my study are very positive and show that if I take the survival factor away, the cells grow much slower and that it may aid current chemotherapeutic drugs to kill breast cancer more efficiently”.
While research is still in its early stages, Ms Cleary said she believes if positive results continue it will eventually allow for the creation of treatments that can be used alongside chemotherapy to increase the likelihood of patient survival.
“One in ten women in Ireland will develop breast cancer during their lifetime,” Professor Fitzpatrick explained. “In 2012, the Irish Cancer Society invested a significant sum of more than €2.8m in cancer research, of which €150,000 is being directed towars breast cancer research, to encourage advances that will impact and improve the lives of those affected by cancer.”
Throughout the month of October the Irish Cancer Society has been calling on people across Ireland to come together and “Get the Girls” to raise funds for vital breast cancer research in Ireland. This year will also see the society launch a new collaborative cancer research centre on breast cancer called Breast-Predict, which will see an investment of €7.5m over five years.