Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Cancer biology

The cancer research programme at MCT aims to progress a precision oncology paradigm by: (i) understanding the molecular drivers of malignant disease (ii) discovering rational therapeutic targets and (iii) identifying key biomarkers to define disease progression and treatment outcome.

Cancer is a disease that presents significant emotional, social, economic and clinical problems worldwide. Globally, in 2012, there were 14.1 million new cancer cases, and 8.2 million cancer deaths, with this burden predicted to increase significantly in coming years, highlighting the need for research into more effective treatment options. MCT investigators contribute to a basic and translational research programme designed to: define the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of human cancers, discover and characterise genetic modifiers contributing to cancer susceptibility and progression, and develop rational approaches for cancer treatment.

Specific research interests include:

  • The regulation of signal transduction pathways leading to cancer progression (Dr Judith Coppinger)
  • Exploring the role of angiogenesis in tumour growth and metastasis and the development of novel anti-angiogenic strategies (Prof. Judith Harmey)
  • Investigating the role of microcalcifications in breast cancer; novel insights into the molecular mechanism and functional consequences (Dr Maria Morgan)
  • Discovery and mechanistic anchoring of molecular determinants of cancer progression (Dr Darran O’Connor)
  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuroblastoma pathogenesis and mechanisms of the development of chemotherapy resistance (Dr Olga Piskareva)
  • Development of novel therapeutic approaches to target tumour angiogenesis and stemness using personalized medicine approaches (Prof. Tracy Robson)
  • Identification and functional analysis of microRNAs that contribute to neuroblastoma pathogenesis (Prof. Raymond L. Stallings)

Other MCT researchers with an interest in cancer:

  • Role of platelets in the blood borne dissemination of cancer cells; protection against shear induced damage and platelet hyporeactivity in active myeloma patients (Prof. Dermot Kenny)
  • Cancer cell-induced platelet activation and the mechanism of tumour cell-induced platelet secretion (Prof. Niamh Moran)