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EAPM 2017 Conference

27-30 November 2017

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UCD Conway Festival of Research & Innovation

13-14th September 2017

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08.30 Registration & Refreshments (Charles foyer).
09.00 Welcome address by Amanda McCann
09.10 – 09.25 Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) in Northern Ireland by Ruth Boyd and Margaret Grayson
09.25 – 09.40 Discussion / Questions re PPI involvement
09.45 – 10.00 Macmillan Cancer Support, Carol Naylor and Michael Howard
10.00 – 10.15 Discussion / questions re: Macmillan cancer support.
10.15 – 11.15 Workshop 1: “Voice your opinion on Cancer Research”
Group participation: Designing a questionnaire for patients to get involved in cancer research. The group will put forward questions and add to a template designed to see if patients might wish to involve themselves in research during or after their treatment, to provide samples or contribute in other ways in the early stages of cancer research. This information could culminate in a patient register –identifying patients/survivors interested in participating in collaborating with researchers.
11.15 – 11.30 Coffee Break
11.40 – 12.20 Workshop 2: “What are researchers doing for me?”
Group participation: How should those interested in research be informed about the above questionnaire? What are the best channels to disseminate the questionnaire (in person / website). At what stage of treatment should it be given (during or after treatment)
12.20 – 13.00 Collation of Workshop 1 and 2 ideas:
13.00 Lunch

A research symposium will be held by BREAST-PREDICT from 2pm – 6pm. Full details here

Breast-Predict world cancer day seminar – February 4th 2016

Workshop: Clinical decision support systems for Breast and prostate cancer focus on prognostic and predictive tools

7th – 8th March 2016, UCD Conway Lecture Theatre, University College Dublin, Ireland


Focus of workshop:

Personalised cancer therapy is dependent on accurate and informative prognostic and predictive tests to determine patient outcome, both in the absence and presence of therapy, respectively. Excluding non-melanoma skin cancers, breast and prostate cancer represent the most frequently diagnosed cancers in women and men in the EU, respectively, with breast cancer the leading cause of cancer-related death in women and prostate cancer the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in men. For both cancer types, disease is now frequently diagnosed at an earlier age, due to improved screening programmes, particularly in economically developed countries. However, with this increase in early diagnoses comes a key decision point for clinicians – how to distinguish aggressive cancers with a propensity to invade and metastasise from those which are indolent and unlikely to spread? Once disease severity has been determined, there is a need for enhanced pre-selection of patients likely to respond to specific therapeutic regimes, in order to avoid unnecessary treatment and maximise benefit to the patient. This issue is particular acute in the context of targeted therapy and the associated costs of usage of same.

This workshop will bring together experts in both breast and prostate cancer biomarker and statistical developments from both academic and industrial settings. Topics will include novel technologies/assay platforms, integrative statistical modelling, use of computational/systems medicine approaches and leveraging of multi-dimensional and longitudinal data. The workshop will also tackle health economic issues and drivers, as well as risk perception from both the clinician and patient perspective.

A key focus of the event will be examination of relevant call topics within the Horizon 2020 work programme, such as SC1-PM-02-2017 ‘New concepts in patient stratification’, and initial planning for potential collaborative bids involving subgroups of workshop participants.

Funding for this workshop has been obtained via Science Foundation Ireland Investigator Program-Catalyst Award (15/IACA/3418)

Primary organisers/contact details:
Professor William Gallagher, Professor of Cancer Biology (william.gallagher@ucd.ie)
Professor William Watson, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology (william.watson@ucd.ie)
UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, IRELAND

Breast-Predict Technical seminar – December 18th 2015
Technical Seminar
IACR Career Discussion and Research Communication event for early stage researchers – Feb 24th 2016
Communication event for early stage researchers
October is breast cancer awareness month and UCD are opening their doors to women who have had a cancer diagnosis and their family & friends. It’s an opportunity to hear about the latest research ongoing in this area, visit the laboratories to meet our researchers and to join a rehabilitative exercise class led by a specialist instructor. Admission is free but booking is required.

‌‌Speakers:

Clare Corish, UCD
‘Diet and Breast Cancer Prevention: Food or Supplements?’

Amanda McCann, UCD/Ciara Conlon, CEO Theya Ireland
‘From biomarkers to bras’

Sarah McGarrigle, TCD
‘Obesity, Lifestyle and Breast Cancer’

Naomi Elster, Beaumont/RCSI
‘Moving research from laboratory bench to clinical trials’

Marie Ennis-O’Connor, writer & patient advocate
journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com

David Gomez, Systems Biology Ireland, UCD
‘Using maths to beat breast cancer’

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The BREAST-PREDICT team, together with the RATHER Consortium (Rational Therapy for Breast Cancer, www.ratherproject.org), are organising a symposium in Dublin on the 20th January 2015. Further details below.

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October was breast cancer awareness month, and to mark the occasion, BREAST-PREDICT participated in a number of outreach and fundraising events. Firstly, members of the BREAST-PREDICT research team met with Irish Cancer Society fundraisers and the media at the launch of the Society’s ‘Paint it Pink’ campaign in September, where Prof. Kathleen Bennett presented her recent work on the role of aspirin in preventing the spread of breast cancer.
Following this, on October 13th, two up-and-coming breast cancer oncologists from the US were invited to present their research at a seminar held at RCSI. Dr. Michaela Higgins is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and has led numerous national and international clinical trials for patients with breast cancer. She presented her recent work, focused on PI3 Kinase mutations in breast cancer, and the emerging role of PI3 Kinase inhibitors to treat breast cancer. Our second speaker was Dr. Róisín Connolly, an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Her research focus is on designing and conducting clinical trials that test investigational new drugs in the treatment of breast cancer, and she discussed her recent research on the use of novel epigenetic therapies for breast cancer.
Finally, the BREAST-PREDICT team also participated in a fundraising event for the ‘Paint it Pink’ campaign, together with the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Lab in UCD. The group held a Coffee Morning and Bake Sale on the ‘Pink’ theme, with pink nail painting for all comers, and some fantastic raffle prizes donated from restaurants Sabor Brazil and The Pig’s Ear. A total of €860 was raised for the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer initiative.
BREAST-PREDICT hosted its first Translational Cancer Research Workshop on the 29th July 2014 in the UCD Conway Institute, which focused on current research in the area of familial breast cancer. The workshop was well-attended, with over 100 clinicians and researchers coming from diverse disciplines, all with an interest in patient management, treatment and future directions in the area of familial breast cancer. The workshop kicked off with an introduction from the BREAST-PREDICT Director, Prof. William Gallagher, who welcomed the attendees and highlighted the opportunity for interaction and sharing of expertise between the BREAST-PREDICT team and the familial breast cancer research community. The first session, which was chaired by Prof. Andrew Green, Director of the National Centre for Medical Genetics, and Prof. Jacintha O’ Sullivan from Trinity College Dublin, began with a Keynote presentation from Prof. Gareth Evans. Prof. Evans is a consultant in Clinical Genetics from the University of Manchester, who presented an overview on the current clinical guidelines on risk assessment and genetic testing, the application of risk-reducing surgery, and the types of mutations that predispose to breast cancer.

Following this comprehensive introduction, three up-and-coming Irish-based researchers presented their work, beginning with Dr. Sarah McGarrigle, a post-doctoral fellow from Trinity College Dublin. Dr. McGarrigle highlighted the role of lifestyle factors in the increasing penetrance of breast cancer-predisposing mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Her research aims to characterise how lifestyle changes can increase breast cancer risk, by measuring markers of DNA damage and oxidative stress. The goal of this research is to identify ways for high-risk patients to reduce their risk through lifestyle modification. This was followed by a talk from Ms. Fatima Al Oraifi, a surgeon who completed her PhD in Trinity College Dublin. Ms. Al Oraifi carried out targeted next-generation sequencing on high-risk women who were known not to have BRCA1/2 mutations, with the aim of identifying novel germline mutations. This project has identified several potentially pathogenic mutations in both known and candidate susceptibility genes, which may be clinically relevant in Irish populations, and are currently being assessed in a follow-up study. Finally in this session, Dr. Terri McVeigh from NUI Galway presented her work on an Irish case-control study, where she identified specific genetic variants, which increased the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

The afternoon session was chaired by Mr. James Geraghty, Consultant Surgeon in St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Dr. David Gallagher, Consultant Medical Oncologist/Geneticist at the Mater Hospital, with the first three talks focusing on the clinical management of familial breast cancer patients, from risk-reducing surgery to genetic testing. Ms. Ruth Prichard from St. Vincent’s Hospital considered the role of screening, chemoprevention, and prophylactic surgery in the management of these patients, while Dr. James McKay from University College London and Dr. David Gallagher from the Mater Hospital discussed the current state of cancer genetics services in the UK and Ireland, respectively, focusing in particular on the recent introduction of gene panel testing, as opposed to single gene testing in the UK. Highlighted in particular in the ensuing discussions was the lack of resources in this area within the Irish healthcare system. Dr. Chris Lord from the Institute of Cancer Research in London switched the focus to molecular biology, presenting his work on the role of PARP inhibitors in treating BRCA-deficient patients, how resistance occurs, and how this can be overcome. Finally, the closing Keynote address was given by Prof. Fergus Couch from the Mayo Clinic, who presented his current research on Variants of Uncertain Significance (VUS), mutations identified during screening which have unknown clinical consequences and can therefore be problematic in terms of patient management.

Feedback on the workshop from attendees was excellent, and BREAST-PREDICT look forward to hosting similar workshops in targeted areas of research in the future. This workshop was sponsored by the Irish Cancer Society, Amgen, Myriad Genetics and the National Breast Cancer Research Institute.

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BREAST-PREDICT hosted a seminar by Dr. Paul Mullan from Queen’s University Belfast, on Wednesday 11th June 2014, entitled “The identification of biomarkers to improve the treatment of poor outcome breast and ovarian cancers”. This seminar was held in collaboration with the CLASS Seminar Programme. Dr. Mullan presented his recent work on a DNA damage repair deficient (DDRD) signature, which predicts positive responses to chemotherapy in triple negative breast cancer.
The BREAST-PREDICT team will meet with members of their Scientific Advisory Board on the 4th and 5th of September in UCD. This meeting will allow the group to highlight their research achievements in the first year of the Centre, and to benefit from the expertise of the Scientific Advisory Board.
The Irish Cancer Society hosted their annual Celebration of Research event on Wednesday 30th April 2014 in the Hilton Hotel, Charlemont Place. This event was geared towards a general public audience, and aimed to highlight the achievements of Irish Cancer Society-funded researchers over the previous year. On the night, the Society announced Dr. Britta Stordal as the winner of their ‘Researcher of the Year’ competition, based on her work on thereapeutic response and resistance in ovarian cancer. Congratulations to Britta, and also to BREAST-PREDICT researchers Lisa Dwane and Dr. Laura Currie-Murphy, who were awarded poster prizes.

The Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Lab recently hosted a workshop in UCD showcasing the application of Optical, Nuclear, Ultrasound and MRI Molecular Imaging in Biomedical Research, including an industry orientated session. This workshop highlighted how researchers in Ireland are using preclinical imaging to enhance their research, and illustrated the broad range of research areas that can benefit from molecular imaging.

Speaking at the workshop, Professor William Gallagher, Director of the Irish Cancer Society Collaborative Cancer Research Centre, BREAST-PREDICT, welcomed an audience from Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Royal College of Surgeons and the National Universities of Maynooth and Galway. The goals of the work shop were to foster links with other imaging facilities, promote collaborations and sharing of expertise, showcase the wide research arenas used that use molecular imaging in their research and to draw attention to the Preclinical/Molecular imaging modalities available in Ireland.

Dr. Paul Crossey kicked off the work shop with an excellent presentation introducing Ultrasound Imaging, system performance and types of measurement while also highlighting the use of ultrasound in his research group to track cardiovascular decline with age. Throughout the day presentations covered the full range of imaging modalities. Prof. Marina Lynch from TCIN illustrated how they were using MRI to look at age-related changes in the brain by evaluation of volume, blood flow and blood brain barrier permeability. In the afternoon, we heard about new clinical radiopharmaceuticals coming online in Ireland from Dr. Ruairi O’Donnell (M2i) with applications specialists from VisualSonics and PerkinElmer talking about preclinical ultrasound and optical imaging probes. Dr. Karen English from Maynooth presented their recently acquired and first-in-Europe Whole Mouse Cryo-imaging System. Last but not least a very interesting presentation from TriFoil Imaging outlining their range of systems including a fully integrated small animal PET/MRI. Audience participation and discussions continued throughout the day.

A special thanks to PerkinElmer for sponsoring the event.

BREAST-PREDICT/MTCI hosted a Translational Cancer Research Seminar on the 5th March 2014, with guest speakers Prof. Sabine Linn from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Dr. Ian Barron from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Trinity College Dublin. Prof. Linn is a Professor of Translational Oncology at the NKI, where her research group is focused on the molecular dissection of breast cancer by differential drug sensitivity. Her talk was entitled “Towards personalized medicine in breast cancer”. Dr. Barron is a Health Research Board ICE fellowship awardee and a funded investigator with BREAST-PREDICT. He spoke about pharmacoprevention in breast cancer research in his talk: ”An Ounce of Breast Cancer Prevention… Pathways from Population Drug Exposures to Improved Breast Cancer Outcomes.
The IACR held their annual meeting in the Galway Bay Hotel on the 27th and 28th of February, with cutting-edge research presented from national and international researchers. See www.iacr.ie for further information
The BREAST-PREDICT 6-month review meeting was held in the Galway Bay Hotel on the 26th of February, bringing together the BREAST-PREDICT team prior to the Irish Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting. Team members delivered updates on their recent work, outlined their future research plans, and a series of productive discussions were held.

The Centre has recruited 7 new PhD researchers, 10 new Postdoctoral researchers, 2 Research Assistants, a Research Nurse, a Clinical Research Associate, a Senior Lecturer and a Centre Co-ordinator since opening its doors in October 2013. In additional to these directly funded researchers, the team includes 20 of the top Principal Investigators in Ireland in the breast cancer field, as well as members of their research groups. Overall, the BREAST-PREDICT team consists of >50 researchers working towards improving the lives of breast cancer patients in Ireland.

In the first six months, the group has published four primary research articles and three review articles, with several additional research articles currently under review. They have also been busy recruiting patients to their translational trials, and to date, over 400 patients are enrolled and have given their consent to take part in this research programme.

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Dr. Gillian Farnie from the University of Manchester was the invited speaker at the BREAST-PREDICT/MTCI Seminar on the 19th February, giving a talk entitled “Targeting breast cancer stem cells to improve radio and chemotherapy”.

Dr. Farnie’s research interests are in the area of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) in invasive and pre-invasive breast cancer. During her talk, she covered the issue of preferential survival of breast cancer stem cells in response to radio and chemotherapy, and discussed therapeutic strategies her group has identified which may combat this problem. She currently leads her own research group in the University of Manchester, having been awarded a Breast Cancer Campaign fellowship.

Horizon 2020, the European Union’s new €79 billion programme for research and innovation to create new growth and jobs in Europe, was launched in the Convention Centre Dublin on Tuesday 10th December, 2013. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Seán Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation launched the largest European fund to date to support research and innovation to an audience of over 2,000 industry and academic representatives from around Ireland.

Horizon 2020 has an increased budget of nearly 30% in real terms compared with its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). Ireland was successful in achieving the national target of winning €600M in funding from FP7, with a number of the successful initiatives spearheaded by BREAST-PREDICT researchers.

Speaking at the launch, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn outlined the opportunities for Ireland’s economy and society presented by Horizon 2020: “Investment in research, innovation and science is essential if Europe and Ireland are to create new high-quality jobs. Horizon 2020 funding is based on competitive calls that are open to everyone. It is up to individual researchers, research organisations, companies or other organisations to get involved.” The Commissioner urged Irish companies and researchers to ‘be ambitious, find partners to collaborate with and apply now”.

Seán Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation stated: “Ireland has adopted a new strategy to ensure strong participation by Irish researchers and companies in Horizon 2020, with an ambitious target of winning €1.25 bn over the programme period.” BREAST-PREDICT Investigators hope to take advantage of these opportunities in the coming years, by leveraging additional funding to help achieve their goal of making personalized medicine a reality for breast cancer patients in Ireland.

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The BREAST-PREDICT kick-off meeting was held on the 31st October 2013 in the newly opened Charles Institute in University College Dublin. Over 30 members of the BREAST-PREDICT research team from around Ireland attended the meeting, which included presentations on the current and future research plans by group leaders, in addition to productive round-table discussions on the practical implementation of the nationwide ‘virtual’ Centre. In particular, details of the National Breast Cancer Biobank and Database, which forms the core of the research strategy of BREAST-PREDICT, were agreed on. This kick-off meeting provided an important opportunity for the BREAST-PREDICT researchers to meet in person, discuss future plans, and meet new members of the team. The next group meeting will be held in Galway on February 26th 2014, when BREAST-PREDICT investigators will present their latest research updates to the team.

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