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

RCSI and Crumlin Children’s Hospital form Unique Partnership to Tackle Childhood Cancer

20 October 2006

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (OLCHC) have today announced a unique partnership which will make a significant contribution to childhood cancer research in Ireland.

Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by the two bodies today, the CRC will allocate €5 million for the development of a research programme into solid tumour cancer genetics to be directed by a new Chair of Cancer Genetics at RCSI. The funds are being allocated under the CRC’s five-year development plan 2006-2010.


The appointment of Ireland’s first Professor of Cancer Pictured from L to R : Mr Shane Molloy, Chairman, The Children's Research Centre; Professor Prem Puri, Director of Research; Mr. Michael Horgan, CEO of RCSI; Mr. David Doran, CEO of the CRC Crumlin Hospital. and Professor Brian Harvey, Director of the RCSI Research Institute.

Genetics will significantly increase the research capacity at both RCSI and the CRC and make an active and substantial contribution to the development of the CRC as Ireland’s primary paediatric research centre. The terms of the partnership will provide an academic environment and supports including a capital budget of €300,000 for the support of research facilities at the College as well as the use of shared research facilities between the two bodies.

Speaking at the signing of the MOU this morning, Professor Brian Harvey, Director of the RCSI Research Institute said, “This unique partnership will and the Children’s Research Centre and networked to a number of national and international research groups” he said.

Commenting on this new development Mr. David Doran, Chief Executive of The Children's Medical and Research Foundation at Our Lady's Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, “This exciting collaboration will lead to the development of the solid tumour cancer genetics programme as an effective translational research programme at CRC and RCSI with the ultimate objective of improving diagnostics and therapy in childhood cancer at OLCHC and, ultimately, the new Children’s Hospital of Ireland. “


Back Row (L to R) : Mr. David Doran, CEO of the CRC Crumlin Hospital and Mr. Michael Horgan, CEO of RCSI
Front Row (L to R) : Mr Shane Molloy, Chairman, The Children's Research Centre; Professor Prem Puri, Director of Research and Professor Brian Harvey, Director of the RCSI Research Institute.

Mr Michael Lyons, Chief Executive of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin welcomed the initiative as a further development in the partnership between the hospital and the RCSI. Mr Lyons stated that the partnership reflected the importance of improving research and clinical care with the overall objective of ensuring better health outcomes for sick children.

Although relatively rare in childhood compared to adulthood, cancer is still one of the more frequent causes of non-traumatic deaths in children in Ireland. New research examining childhood (under 15 years) cancer incidence and survival in Ireland 1994-2000, and longer-term mortality trends, is currently being prepared for publication by the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI). According to its preliminary findings a total of 787 cases of childhood cancer were recorded in Ireland during the seven-year period- averaging about 112 cases per year.

Ireland averages 142 cases per million children per year. This figure is slightly higher than the European and lower than the US average. Observed five-year survival in Ireland at 79 per cent was slightly higher than European and US averages.

According to the study “as new medical treatments are developed, childhood cancer is no longer equated to death and more children are survivors of cancer and continue normal lives after treatment.

It is the hope of both RCSI and the CRC that this new programme in cancer genetics will be instrumental in the continued long-term survival of paediatric cancer patients.