Belfast and Dublin join in £1.5m cancer research
8 January 2009
New treatment options for
cancers with low survival rates are to be developed as the result of a
new £1.5 million project between Queen’s University Belfast and Trinity
Researchers at Queen’s have identified a number of biological targets,
such as suicide genes in cells, which they hope will be stimulated by
new drug compounds. Along with colleagues at Trinity, researchers at
Queen's will design, synthesize and test the new compounds.
The funding for the cross-border project comes from Northern Ireland’s
Department for Employment and Learning.
Professor Dennis McCance, Director of the Centre for Cancer Research and
Cell Biology said: “Queen’s has expertise in identifying potential
biological targets which could react to drug compounds. Our partners in
Trinity are leaders in computational chemistry, whereby computers are
used to design drugs given the structure of the target in the body.
“Therefore, putting our medicinal chemistry expertise along with
Trinity’s expertise in computational chemistry will help ease a
potential bottleneck in drug discovery across the island of Ireland,
leading to new treatment options for those cancers with poor survival
The project is the first cross-border project of its type and will
create in the region of 12 jobs initially. It is hoped that discoveries
arising from the project will lead to spin-off companies and an increase
in related jobs at pharmaceutical companies through the licensing of any
The project is the latest in a round of projects at Queen’s to be
awarded funding from the Department for Employment and Learning. The University
recently received £7 million under the
Cross-Border Research and Development Funding Programme.
The £7 million is being used to create five world-class research
The centres will focus on the areas of next-generation mobile networks,
safety and traceability of agri-foods, diet and obesity, biomedical
informatics research to accelerate drug discovery and identifying novel
therapeutics of importance to many chronic diseases.
The centres will establish the island of Ireland as a significant force
in addressing global challenges and indigenous industry and the all-ireland
research base which will both be strengthened as a result of the
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