Tuesday, 10 October 2017

BCNI is organising a "Blood Cancer Information Evening" on Monday 6th November. This event is free and is open to patients, their families and memebers of the public with an interest in learning more about blood cancers.   Date : Monday 6th November 7-9pm Venue: Room 2010, Top Floor, Clinical Sciences Institute, Galway University Hospital Cancer Info evening flyer 2017 Map to Clinical Sciences Institute We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

BCNI investigators and staff attended the  annual Hematology Association of Ireland meeting on 13th-14th Oct in Belfast and were available to answer questions from clinicians and nursing staff about BCNI activities and how to get involved in our clinicla trial, biobanking and registry activities. 

Friday, 6 October 2017

‌Hundreds of cancer survivors, their families, friends and carers travelled from all over Ireland to attend the Irish Cancer Society’s annual conference on cancer survivorship which was held in the Aviva Stadium on 29th and 30th  September. The aim of the conference was to provide information and support to enable people to live well after a cancer diagnosis. BCNI cliniclal research nurse Jessica Walsh and clinical trials coordinator Grainne Gannon were on hand to tell patients and their families about BCNI and our efforts to increase understanding and improve treatments for blood cancer patients. The conference was opened by the Minister for Health Simon Harris and  Grainne and Jessica spoke about our network and about BCNI clinical trails  that are allowing patients to access treatments that would otherwise not be available to them.  Patients also heard from a range of speakers  including cancer patients, seeking to understand and address not just the cancer itself but the huge range of needs that accompany a diagnosis.


Friday, 6 October 2017

On wednesday 27th Sept Dr Grainne Gannon, the BCNI Clinical trials coordinator participated in an information event for people living with blood cancer in the Davenport Hotel on Merrion Street Lower, Dublin 2. The event was part of the overall" Make Blood Cancer Visible" campaign. The patient event was open to all people, along with their family and friends, who are living with blood cancer. Speakers included Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy, Irish Cancer Society, Dr Paul D’Alton, Head of Psycho-Oncology Department, St Vincent’s Hospital, Eric Low, former CEO of Myeloma UK and two haematology nurse specialists.  Cancer Trials Ireland also attended the event to promote their "Just Ask" campaign encouraging patients to access clinical trials. BCNI had a stand with information leaflets and Grainne was available to chat to Patients and their families about BCNI clinical trials.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

September is blood cancer awareness month.   Prof Michael O'Dwyer, Director of BCNI has been taking part in a media awareness campagin to highlight the signs and sympotoms of Blood Cancers and explain the research we are doing to develop new treatments for patients.  There are over 140 different types of blood cancers, which can be classified into three main groups – leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Together, they comprise nearly 10% of all cancers and are the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Ireland. Despite this, many people are unaware of the symptoms associated with blood cancer, or often put them down to something else.  The Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign aims to change this by raising awareness about the disease. It was launched by former professional boxer Barry McGuigan, whose father Pat died from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – a rare type of blood cancer – in 1987. Pat died within 10 weeks of his diagnosis. He was just 52 years old at the time. To learn more please see  Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign TV3 Ireland AM http://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/809/131627/1/Ireland%20AM Independent.ie - http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/barry-mcguigan-my-dad-was-diagnosed-with-a-rare-blood-cancer-he-died-nine-weeks-later-36100818.html Journal.ie http://www.thejournal.ie/blood-cancer-barry-mcguigan-3580768-Sep2017/  Or listen in to Sean O'Rourke program on RTE1 interviewing Prof O'Dwyer and Barry McGuigan Sean O'Rourke RTE1 interview

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Prof Michael O'Dwyer, Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland recently talked to Myeloma Crowd Radio about how sugar molecules can act as a smokescreen for myeloma cells. He explained how normal sugars found on the surface of cells can be altered in cancer cells helping them to hide from the immune system. His research is trying to find new ways to detect these altered sugars to improve diagnostic tests and to use our understanding of this aberant process in cancer cells to develop new treatments for myeloma. You can listen to a recording of this show on www.blogtalkradio.com/myelomacrowdradio/2017/08/25/myeloma-crowd-radio-michael-odwyer-md-national-university-of-ireland        

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

‌ Blood Cancer Network Ireland recently held its annual symposium on 9th June in St James Hospital Dublin. The title of this year’s symposium was "Advances in translational and early clinical research in blood cancers" and over 80 researchers and clinical staff attended the event. The symposium provided the opportunity to hear about the latest research and hottest topics in blood cancer research from an excellent line-up of international experts. The symposium also stimulated great interactions between Irish and international blood cancer researchers helping to form collaborations and come up with novel ideas for blood cancer therapeutics development. Among the highlights of the symposium were: Dr Alessandra Larocca, Citta' della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, highlighted key results from the European Multiple Myeloma network trials. Dr Armand Keating, Cell Therapy Program, Ontario Cancer Institute, Canada, presented findings from a phase 1 study which showed the potential of irradiated NK92 cells for the treatment of blood cancers. Professor Daniela Krause, Institute for Tumour Biology and Experimental Therapy, Frankfurt, discussed the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in blood cancer development and treatment. Professor Hermann Einsele, Julius Maximilians University, Würzburg, discussed multiple approaches for the immunotherapeutic treatment of Multiple Myeloma. An interesting talk from Dr Tony McElligott, Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, St James Hospital, Dublin, on the role of STAT3 in micro-environmental interactions in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Dr Karen Keeshan, Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow, highlighted differences in cancer stem cells in adult and paediatric Acute Myeloid Leukeamia (AML) and how it could affect treatment for paediatric AML. Dr Serika Naicker, Biomedical Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, showed how daratumumab could be more potent in combination with low dose chemotherapy via macrophage mediated ADCP. Professor Tuna Mutis, Dept. of Hematology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, presented his work on understanding immune escape in the Multiple Myeloma microenvironment and strategies to overcome it. Congratulations to Alessandra Di Grande of RCSI on winning the best poster prize and Dr Serika Naicker, NUI Galway, on winning the prize for best young presenter at the blood cancer symposium, and well done to all involved in organising a great event.  ‌

Friday, 28 April 2017

BCNI researchers based in Galway and their collaborators have published significant new findings in the journal "Leukemia". The researchers have shown that Myeloma cells that express high levels of the E-selectin ligand give rise to a more aggressive  disease and were more resistant to chemotherapy. They also found that relapsed patients had higher levels of E-selectin expressing cells.Significantly they went on to demonstrate that by using an E-selectin antogonist (GM1271) they could prevent the cells becoming resistant to chemotherapy. This work work is important because it provides a rational for targeting E-selectin receptor/ligand interactions to overcome metastasis and chemoresistance in Multiple Myeloma. Leukemia paper accepted article

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Information and Advocacy group for CLL Patients and Carers are organising a meeting on Sat 29th of April in the Ashling Hotel in Dublin. This is a great opportunity for patients and their families to come together to share information,   become involved and become informed. The meeting is open to all and you can find a link to the program and the meeting flyer below. CLL meeting porgram

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Irish cancer patients with multiple myeloma are the first in the world to be treated with a new potentially life-saving drug combination 27th Feb 2017: Irish patients with the blood cancer ‘multiple myeloma’ are the first patients worldwide to take part in a new drug trial to develop more effective treatment for the cancer. This innovative Phase 1 clinical trial being led by researchers at NUI Galway will investigate for the first time, whether the addition of a new multiple myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients. DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has recently been approved for treating relapsed patients. This new trial is the first study worldwide to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide and will determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) has already recruited the first six patients at University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital and the study will soon be extended to BCNI centres in Dublin, thereby giving multiple myeloma patients nationwide access to the trial. BCNI is a €2.7 million cancer research and clinical trials initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland which brings together clinicians, scientists, and population health experts across Galway, Cork and Dublin with a shared interest in blood cancer research. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer arising from a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In multiple myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. These can produce an excess of a single antibody which is harmful and stops the blood from working properly. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. Notably this clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by BCNI. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals which show that Cyclophosphamide treatment can potentially make DARA more effective. It represents a bench-to-bedside approach where scientific insights from the laboratory are applied to developing new and improved ways to treat patients. This is the first cancer clinical trial to be sponsored by NUI Galway on behalf of BCNI and it demonstrates the University’s commitment to supporting clinical cancer research. Irish patients on this trial will receive additional benefits, including state of the art monitoring and access to this new treatment free of charge. Commenting on the new trial, Professor Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director, lead investigator and Consultant Haematologist at NUI Galway said: “It is an exciting time for blood cancer research in Ireland. This new trial, a first for BCNI, is another step forward in developing new treatment options for patients living with multiple myeloma. The study is the result of collaborations across a broad range of partners including NUI Galway, Cancer Trials Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Health Research Board and BCNI investigators and staff. The successful launch of the study is a testament to our shared commitment to finding better treatment options for patients through clinical trials.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, welcomed this new Phase 1 clinical trial and praised the work of researchers linked to Blood Cancer Network Ireland: “ This latest clinical trial highlights the importance of investing in world class innovative and potentially life-changing Irish cancer research and we hope that the patients taking part will help identify even more improvements in care and outcomes for this disease. The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of BCNI, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment. Ireland has many world class cancer researchers but it’s only through the public’s generous donations that we can continue to invest in such vital cancer research. For that, we thank the public, and hope that they can continue to support us this Daffodil Day, March 24th.” The past two decades have seen major advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma with approval of several new treatments resulting in a doubling in survival over this period.  Carefully conducted clinical trials based on bench to bedside research have been critical for these developments. This trial exemplifies this approach and is an important contribution by Irish researchers and patients to the global fight against multiple myeloma. For more information on the study please visit www.bloodcancers.ie or www.clinicaltrials.gov (search: NCT02955810). If you would like to refer a patient or have any queries please contact Amanda Bray, the National Research Coordinator for BCNI by email amanda.bray@nuigalway.ie or contact BCNI@nuigalway.ie

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

BCNI are currently recruiting for:  Research Assistant (part-time) - Cancer Niche Group. Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a part-time, fixed term contract as a research assistant for the Cancer Niche Group of Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) and Apoptosis Research Centre based in the Biomedical Sciences Building at NUI Galway. The position is available from April 2017 to March 2019 subject to an initial one year probationary period. This position is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

‌‌‌ BCNI had a stand at the  19th Galway Science and Technology Exhibition on Sunday 27 November at NUI Galway.  Companies, schools, colleges (including NUI Galway and GMIT), and research institutes exhibited over 80 interactive STEM demonstrations and projects for all ages to enjoy. BCNI was on hand to  to tell everyone some amazing facts about blood. Now lots of kids (and their parents) in the Galway region know all about why we need blood, what its made of, what the different types of blood cells do and they got to see what  blood cells and blood cancer cells look like under the microscope! Great fun was had by all our team and the many visitors to the stand!

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Galway team of Blood Cancer Network Ireland are organising an information event on blood cancers and clinical trials. If you or a loved one has blood cancer, or if you just want to learn more  about blood cancers or the clinical trials that the network is running, please come along to our free event. Venue: Room 305, Clinical Sciences Institute, University Hospital Galway. See map to CSI Date: Thursday 20th October from 7-9pm Blood Cancer information evening flyer: Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Consultant Haematologist, Galway University Hospital:  “Overview of blood cancers and recent advances in treatment” Christopher McEvilly, Blood Cancer Patient: “My experience with blood cancer” Amanda Bray, Clinical Trials Coordinator, Clinical Research Facility, GUH :“What it means to be a clinical trial participant” Dr Sandra Healy, Blood Cancer Network Ireland programme manager :"What is a blood cancer biobank and registry and why we need  them?" TEA/COFFEE and tour of the Clinical Research Facility at GUH If possible please register by dropping us an email at BCNI@nuigalway.ie For more information and directions please see www.bloodcancers.ie

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tuesday 27 September 2016: An Irish patient with the blood cancer ‘multiple myeloma’ has become the first in the world to take part in a new drug trial for patients with the disease who respond poorly to standard treatment. The clinical trial, looking at a new medicine called GMI-1271, is being run by Blood Cancer Network Ireland and has recently recruited its first patient in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, under the supervision of Dr John Quinn, Consultant Haematologist and Associate Investigator with Blood Cancer Network Ireland. Blood Cancer Network Ireland is a €2.7 million cancer research and clinical trials initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland which brings together clinicians, scientists, and population health experts across Galway, Cork and Dublin with a shared interest in blood cancer research. The drug was first tested in Ireland, the US and Australia in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and early results are very promising for treating patients with this form of blood cancer. Blood Cancer Network Ireland will now lead the way in evaluating whether the therapy is also effective in patients with multiple myeloma. Blood cancer is an umbrella term for cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood arising from a type of white blood cell which is called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. These can produce an excess of a single antibody which is harmful and stops the blood from working properly. In both acute myeloid leukaemia and multiple myeloma, some of the cancer cells can hide out in the bone marrow, where they stick to blood vessels, rendering chemotherapy less effective. This means that, even after chemotherapy has killed the majority of cancer cells, the cells in these ‘sanctuary sites’ survive and then go on to grow and multiply once again, causing the patient to relapse. If successful, GMI-1271 will prevent or delay this relapse. By testing the drug in tandem with standard chemotherapy, it is hoped that cancer cells will be unable to anchor themselves to the bone marrow, allowing chemotherapy treatment to kill all cancer cells in the patient. The opportunity to open the trial in Ireland is due to the research carried out by members of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and their strong collaboration with Glycomimetics, the biotechnology company which produced the drug. The GMI-1271 trial for multiple myeloma patients will also open in University Hospital Galway where Professor Michael O’Dwyer (Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland) is leading the study. Commenting on the new trial, Professor O’Dwyer said: “This new clinical trial highlights the huge strides in cancer research and clinical trials which Blood Cancer Network Ireland has been a part of since our establishment in November 2015. “There are approximately 1,500 people in Ireland living with blood cancer. Blood cancers account for about 10% of cancer deaths and it is the relapsed drug resistant cancer that is the cause of most deaths. The fact that this new trial provides hope for multiple myeloma patients is an exciting development that puts Blood Cancer Network Ireland at the forefront of blood cancer research on a global scale.” Consultant haematologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dr John Quinn, joined Blood Cancer Network Ireland in February of this year after the Irish Cancer Society committed to an increased investment of €450,000 over the next five years to support the expansion of the network into Mater and Beaumont Hospitals. Speaking on his entry into the network, Dr Quinn said at the time: “We have been developing our clinical trial practice in haematology at Beaumont over the past five years, however, this major investment by the Irish Cancer Society will open up even greater access to blood cancer clinical trials and the latest treatments for our patients, and also strengthen the network as whole”. Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, welcomed this new Phase 1 clinical trial and praised the work of researchers linked to Blood Cancer Network Ireland: “The work being carried out by this country-wide network of clinicians, scientists, and population health experts highlights the importance of investing in such innovative and potentially life-changing cancer research. The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of Blood Cancer Network Ireland, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment.” Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma and 170 succumb to their disease.  In the past a multiple myeloma diagnosis meant that a patient could only expect to survive for three to five years, with chemotherapy the only treatment available. Today, that average survival time has increased very significantly, and the introduction of new medicines in the coming years will likely see patient outcomes improve even further.

Friday, 26 August 2016

We were very saddened to learn of the death of Paul Daly who passed away after a long and courageous battle with Leukemia.  Paul recognised the importance of research in continuing the fight against cancer and he gave willingly of his time and support to promote blood cancer research in Ireland. We are very grateful to Paul for his contribution as a patient to our Blood Cancer Network and our sympathies are with his family in this difficult time. ‌‌

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

On Friday 27th May BCNI held a “Blood Cancer” Symposium for researchers and healthcare professionals with an interest in translational and clinical blood cancer research. This event had an excellent line-up of international speakers. Speakers Prof Donald Harvey,   Director, Phase 1 Clinical Trials, Winship Cancer Institute Emory University, Atlanta, USA  "The recent evolution of phase 1 trials in drug development"- See presentation Dr Jim Omel,  Patient Advocate, USA "Myeloma....still much to be done" - See presentation Prof Alan Burnett,  Emeritus Prof  and Head of Haematology Department of Medical Genetics, Cardiff, Wales , "Can we do trials better?"-See presentation Prof Henk Lokhorst, Prof of Hematology, VU Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, "Evolving immunotherapeutic strategies in myeloma" -See presentation Dr Caroline Heckman, Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland, "From biobanks and big data to precision medicine strategies in hematology" -See presentation Margaret Doyle, Global Medical Affairs Director, Hematology, Janssen, "BCNI- an industry perspective"     - See presentation     Presentations on the vision and activities of Blood Cancer Network Ireland were given by Prof Michael O'Dwyer, BCNI Director "Development of early phase clinical trials in Ireland" - See presentation Dr Eva Szegezdi, BCNI Biobank leader "Introducing Blood Cancer Biobank Ireland" - See presentation Dr Harry Comber, BCNI Cancer Registry "Establishing an enhanced blood cancer registry for Ireland" - See Presentation ‌ Approximately 100 people attended the symposium coming from Universities (TCD, UCC, NUIG, QUB, GMIT, RCSI, UCD, UL, DCU) Hospitals and Clinical Research Facilities (Mater, Beaumont, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Galway, MRH Tullamore, St James, Clinical Trials Ireland) Funding agencies (Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Cancer Society and Enterprise Ireland) Industry (Amgen, Novartis, Janssen, AbbVie, BMS, SuprTec Box). Overall it was an excellent symposium that generated a lot of excitement about the latest developments in Blood Cancer research at both national and international levels. ‌

Monday, 4 April 2016

BCNI in the news - March 2016.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Blood Cancer Network Ireland - Launch 25th Nov 2015 Blood Cancer Network Ireland was launched by Mr Damien English, T.D. Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation on Wednesday 25th Nov at the Lambe Institute at NUIG/University Hospital Galway. The Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland have partnered together to fund this new collaborative cancer network that will offer early stage clinical trials to blood cancer patients in Ireland. Michael O'Dwyer, Professor of Hematology and Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland, Paul Daly and Minister of State for Skills, Research, and Innovation Damien English.   ‌ BCNI team based at NUI Galway: Michael O'Dwyer, Professor of Hematology and Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland, Dr Eva Szegezdi, Blood Cancer Biobank leader, Dr Sandra Healy BCNI Program Manager and Professor Lokesh Joshi, VP of Research at NUI Galway with Minister of State for Skills, Research, and Innovation Damien English   ‌ BCNI principal Investigator team : Paul Browne (Professor of Hematology -Trinity College Dublin), Michael O'Dwyer (Professor of Hematology - NUI Galway), Mary Cahill  (Professor of Hematology - University College Cork), Eva Szegezdi (Lecturer - NUI Galway) with Minister of State for Skills, Research, and Innovation Damien English(middle)   ‌ Dr Mark Ferguson (Science Foundation Ireland), Damien English (Minister of State for Skills, Research, and Innovation), Professor Michael O'Dwyer  (Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland) and Dr Robert O'Connor (Irish Cancer Society)

Friday, 6 October 2017

‌Hundreds of cancer survivors, their families, friends and carers travelled from all over Ireland to attend the Irish Cancer Society’s annual conference on cancer survivorship which was held in the Aviva Stadium on 29th and 30th  September. The aim of the conference was to provide information and support to enable people to live well after a cancer diagnosis. BCNI cliniclal research nurse Jessica Walsh and clinical trials coordinator Grainne Gannon were on hand to tell patients and their families about BCNI and our efforts to increase understanding and improve treatments for blood cancer patients. The conference was opened by the Minister for Health Simon Harris and  Grainne and Jessica spoke about our network and about BCNI clinical trails  that are allowing patients to access treatments that would otherwise not be available to them.  Patients also heard from a range of speakers  including cancer patients, seeking to understand and address not just the cancer itself but the huge range of needs that accompany a diagnosis.