Tag Archive | "NUI Galway"

CÚRAM Awarded €150,000 to Tackle Major Global Health Problems

CÚRAM Investigator Dr. Martin O’Halloran has been awarded a second European Research Council (ERC) grant of €150,000 to support the development of a new medical device for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) that can lead to heart disease and stroke, NUI Galway announced on Tuesday.

The project is a collaboration between Investigators Dr Martin O’Halloran and Dr Conall Dennedy at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. The Investigators aim to bring the novel medical device towards first-in-man trials within the lifetime of the project.

The widespread presence of hypertension in European countries is currently 28-44%. This amounts to between 200 and 327 million Europeans. Excess production of the hormone aldosterone by the adrenal glands (primary aldosteronism) is the most common endocrine cause and accounts for 8-20% of all hypertension. Current treatment regimens are dissatisfactory and costly, involving either surgery or lifelong drug therapy. Therefore, a cost-effective, minimally invasive and definitive management approach for this underlying cause would present a potential cure for an often undiagnosed and unmanaged disease. This is what is being proposed with the new ERC ‘REALTA’ project.

“The REALTA project plan is very similar to that of a start-up medtech company, where as well as technology development, the team will also examine the competitive landscape, the clinical and regulatory pathway, and reimbursement opportunities”, O’Halloran said. “The overarching goal is to gather sufficient technical, clinical, regulatory and commercial evidence over the course of the next 18 months to be able to spin-out a company that is attractive to external investors. Such investment will be required to take the technology through to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and clinical trials.”

Dr O’Halloran secured his first ERC Starting Grant in 2015 to examine the electrical properties of human tissue, as a platform for novel medical device development in Europe. Supported by a Science Foundation Ireland ERC Support Grant, he established the Translational Medical Device Lab in Galway, the first medical device lab in Ireland to be embedded in a regional hospital, University Hospital Galway, and co-located within the Health Research Board’s Clinical Research Facility. Working closely with Dr Conall Dennedy, Consultant Endocrinologist at NUI Galway, he began to examine the potential of new technologies to treat primary aldosteronism, the most common endocrine cause of hypertension.

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM said: “The objectives of CÚRAM are to carry out research on the development of innovative ‘smart’ implantable medical devices, which will benefit patients with chronic ailments such as cardiovascular diseases. I would like to congratulate Dr O’Halloran and Dr Dennedy on their continued research success, which is supported by the excellent multidisciplinary team of clinicians, translational scientists and engineers here at CÚRAM and NUI Galway, which reflects the interests and expertise of investigators in CÚRAM.”

Read the NUI Galway announcement here.

Posted in Healthcare, Medical Research, News, R&D Investment, University InvestmentComments (0)

NUIG researchers find potent new possibilities in anti-cancer gene

New research published in the Open Biology journal by researchers at NUI Galway has shown that the anti-cancer gene TP53 has more tools to fight cancer than previously thought.

The anti-cancer gene had previously been identified for its processes which prevent cancer cells from multiplying in the body. These processes were able to either trigger a cells own destruction, or prevent cell division, making it a potent anti-cancer gene.

The team at Galway, led by Professor Noel Lowndes, discovered that TP53 also directly regulates the repair of broken DNA. Professor Lowndes explains how: “Broken DNA is the most dangerous type of DNA damage as it can result in cell death or loss of genetic information in those cells that survive the break.

“There are two major competing biochemical pathways for repairing pathways for repairing broken DNA. One simply re-joins the two ends of the broken chromosome. The other uses a nearby intact DNA molecule of the same sequence as a template to repair the broken chromosome. The other uses a nearby intact DNA molecule of the same sequence as a template to repair the broken chromosome.

“Our work demonstrates that the anti-cancer gene TP53 directly influences the regulation of these pathways. Thus, loss of TP53 during cancer development will drive the evolution of cancer cells towards ever more aggressive cancer types.”

The team indicate that it hopes this discovery will impact upon diagnosis of cancer and aid improved therapeutic interventions. Other recent studies have pointed to the successful targeting of TP53 in cancer therapeutics, with one study yielding positive results for chronic myeloid leukaemia.

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ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition seeks student-made videos

NUI Galway is challenging primary and secondary school students across Ireland to create videos on science topics for the ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition and perhaps win more than €3,000 in prizes.

The makers of the best entertaining and educational short video at primary and secondary school level will each receive €1,000, to be spent on promoting science in the winning school.

Second and third-place entries at each level will receive €300 and €200, respectively.

NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell came up with ReelLIFE SCIENCE, and she said there is huge enthusiasm among students for using hands-on science to investigate the world around them, whether it’s exploring the plants and animals in their school garden or the food in their lunchboxes.

“A great way of communicating this is by using video cameras, tablets or even smartphones to make a short movie for their friends, parents and teachers to enjoy,” O’Connell said.

The closing date for entries into the ReelLIFE SCIENCE competition is 17 October.

The winning schools will be announced during the week beginning 10 November to coincide with Science Week 2014.

The competition’s judging panel will include Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology at Imperial College London and science writer with The Guardian; Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, lecturer in mathematics at University College Dublin, radio and TV broadcaster, columnist and author; and Paul Clarke, St Paul’s College, Raheny, winner of the SciFest National Final 2013 and Overall Winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014.

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Enterprise Ireland teams up with Mayo Clinic in ‘ready for market’ deal

Early stage medical treatments and devices – invented at the Mayo Clinic in the US – are to be developed into ready for market products by Irish academic institutions under a new agreement to be signed this morning.

It is hoped the five year plan will lead to the setting up of 10 new spin-out companies and the creation of dozens of jobs.

For the past 150 years, the non-profit Mayo Clinic in the US has been a world leader in medical treatment and research.

But according to the clinic, developing a good idea from early stage basic research into a ready for market product is expensive and difficult to fund in the US.

The Taoiseach will today witness the signing of an agreement that will see the Mayo Clinic partner with EnterpriseIreland, which has an established commercialisation fund and expertise in the area.

The clinic will hand over 20 promising ideas for new medical technologies and EnterpriseIreland will provide €12m in funding and experts in universities and academic institutions here to develop them for market.

The first project – a device for treating acute pancreatitis – is already being developed at NUI Galway.

It is hoped the unique partnership will lead to the creation of 10 spin-out companies, and as a consequence the creation of dozens of jobs

Posted in Medical Research, R&D NewsComments (0)


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