Almost 3,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland each year and 30% of these cancers are in women who are under 50 years of age. To mark World Cancer Day on Monday, February 4th Breast Cancer Ireland announce the awarding of a new research fellowship, exploring a type of breast cancer more prevalent in younger women, called Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

With funds raised through the Great Pink Run with Avonmore Slimline Milk that took place in Dublin and Kilkenny last October, Breast Cancer Ireland called out to research teams nationally, to present applications on research projects focusing on Triple Negative Breast Cancer to examine new and improved targeted treatment therapies, for consideration. Following an external review by an international panel of senior scientists and clinicians, Dr Paul Mullan, from the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queens University Belfast, was the successful applicant.

The award, which will be spread over 3 years, has a maximum funding of €200,000 and Dr Mullan’s research team will focus on cancer pathways for cell invasion, growth and drug response in Triple Negative Breast Cancer patients. His research will seek to identify new targeted treatment therapies for more positive outcomes.

Commenting on the investment in research, Aisling Hurley, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland says, “We have met so many young women diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer and identified the lack of research available and so our investment into this aspect of the disease will hopefully offer new improved targeted therapies for patients going forward.” She continues, “We decided that funds raised from our successful Great Pink Run with Avonmore Slimline Milk and our partnership with Glanbia plc, could this year, be channelled into this unique piece of research, allowing us to continue our efforts to improve the landscape for many patients diagnosed into the future.  

The Triple Negative Research Fellowship is just one of several projects funded by Breast Cancer Ireland. The charity also funds research into metastasis of the disease, at laboratories in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), as well as funding specialist breast cancer research nurses, located in the eight designated cancer centres, whose role is to collaborate nationally, collecting tissue and serum samples into one large centralised location, thereby speeding up research discovery times. The charity also supports and funds education and awareness programmes nationally on the importance of good breast health for women of all ages.

Last week, Breast Cancer Ireland hosted a gathering of scientists, surgeons, specialist nurses, patient ambassadors and their families, ahead of World Cancer Day to update on developments in research, with focus on younger women diagnosed with the disease and the factors associated.

Breast Surgeon, Head of RCSI’s Medical School and Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, Professor Arnie Hill, along with clinicians in the area of breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment shared their insights into how the landscape of the disease is changing in this country.

Breast Cancer Ireland have ambitious and exciting plans for events and initiatives to raise significant funding throughout 2019.