THE RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the National Children’s Research Centre (NCRC) have announced a new partnership that is aimed at strengthening paediatric Cystic Fibrosis (CF) research at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.
The €1.1 million research programme that will run for five years will focus entirely on children with CF. It is aimed at strengthening paediatric CF research at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital to 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 into 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.
Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research, said they were 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, the RCSI is uniquely placed to develop and enhance translational research for the benefit of patients,” he said. “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 that 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.
Dr Jacinta Kelly, NCRC Chief Executive, added: “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 the country. CF 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.