RCSI/CSM gets awarded €6million for the European Commission (EC) funded H2020 Health industry/academia project ‘COLOSSUS’

Prof Annette Byrne (co-ordinator) and colleagues were awarded c. €6million for the European Commission (EC) funded  H2020 Health  industry/academia project ‘COLOSSUS’ focused on the development of new biomarkers and  therapies for difficult to treat metastatic colorectal cancer. COLOSSUS was ranked #1 from 206 applications submitted to H2020 Call PM-02-2017 from across Europe.

more information can be found below.





RCSI to train new generation of researchers as part of another international study to tackle most common brain diseases

More great news for the Department



Thursday, 9th November 2017:  RCSI  is leading an international team of scientists on a major research study that aims to train the next generation of specialists in purinergic signalling during brain diseases. The project (“PurinesDX”) aims to establish the potential of newly developed devices to better diagnose and treat patients. Brain disorders affect 180 million people and their families in Europe alone.  PurinesDX has received funding of over €3.5 million from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

The research project brings together global leaders in translational research in purinergic signalling, Europe’s leading clinical specialists in a broad range of brain diseases, and industrial partners specializing in drug and biomarker development from six different European countries. The main aim of PurinesDX is to train an urgently needed new generation of highly skilled, innovative, creative and entrepreneurial early stage researchers and to tackle brain disorders.

The project is led by Dr Tobias Engel, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics. “Despite diversity in symptomatology and etiology of brain diseases, it is becoming increasingly clear that neuroinflammation-induced hyperexcitability plays a key role in common mechanisms underlying both primary disorders of the brain and their shared co-morbidities. PurinesDX has identified the ATP-gated purinergic P2X7 receptor as the ideal target. By sharing unique genetic tools, newly developed diagnostic devices and novel, selective and brain-stable P2X7 antagonists, the synergism facilitated within PurinesDX will determine the therapeutic potential of targeting P2X7 in a wide array of the most common brain diseases and provide, at the same time, a high level training in state-of-the-art neuroscience for early stage researchers.” Dr Engel said.



PurinesDX includes major academic and industry researchers from across Europe, including collaborators in Ireland (Longboat Clinical); Germany (University Ludwig Maximilans; Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry; Dr Seibt Genomics; Epilepsy Centre Frankfurt Rhein-Main; Affectis Pharmaceuticals AG); Hungary (Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Bio Talentum; Semmelweis University); Belgium (Janssen Pharmaceutica NV); Spain (University Complutense Madrid; CIBERNED, CIEN, Foundation Teofilo Hernando; Ramon y Cajal Hospital); and the UK (Sarissa Biomedical).

The four-year project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 766124.










RCSI wins prestigious tripartite €5.1 million award as part of Global Project to Tackle Colorectal Cancer

Monday, 23rd October 2017: RCSI/CSM has been successful in a €5.1m tripartite grant award to tackle colorectal cancer. The prestigious US-Ireland partnership award provides a unique opportunity to bring together leading researchers from GE Healthcare in the US, RCSI and Queen’s University Belfast in an interdisciplinary programme of research to develop new approaches to diagnose and treat the deadly disease.

Using Cell DIVE, the state-of-the-art technology developed by GE Healthcare, the RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine in collaboration with Prof Deborah McNamara and Prof Elaine Kay from the Departments of Surgery and Pathology at RCSI and Beaumont Hospital and cancer researchers at Queen’s University will comprehensively characterise the gene and protein interactions inside colorectal cancer cells and use this information to select or stratify patients for particular therapeutic interventions.

RCSI’s Professor Jochen Prehn commented: “This collaborative programme of research shows how a comprehensive knowledge of the tumour, generated through an interdisciplinary tumour profiling and computational analysis approach can not only give us precise insights into the complex biology of cancer, but also allow us to develop new diagnostic and prognostic tools.”

Dr Fiona Ginty from GE Healthcare said: “The Cell DIVE technology that we have developed allows the examination of tumour tissue samples at a level of detail that has not been possible before. Examining multiple proteins and different cell types in a single tissue sample allows us to define more clearly the biology that drives individual tumours. We are delighted to be working with researchers on the island of Ireland to apply this technology and know it will positively influence patient care.”

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and it is predicted that the number of cases will rise to 2.4 million diagnosed per year by 2035. There are a number of treatment options available to colorectal cancer patients and a patient’s response to treatment will depend on the specific type or makeup of their cancer. As a ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment approach does not work for all patients, a more precise understanding of what happens inside colorectal cancer cells is required. This study will involve the examination of thousands of tumour samples in a bid to develop a diagnostic test that will enable more precise treatment plans for individual patients.

Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Genomics at Queen’s University explains: “Inside the colorectal cancer cell is like a massive series of circuits that are switched on all the time but different subsets of patients have differences in their circuitry. The Cell DIVE technology allows us to take multiple snapshots inside the colorectal cancer cell, defining a particular signature that identifies the patient’s molecular subtype. This will allow us to match the right patient to the right treatment.”

Director of Research and Innovation at RCSI, Professor Ray Stallings, welcomed the announcement saying: “This exciting project is a great example of how the impact of RCSI’s research, focussed on translating scientific discoveries for patient benefit, can be accelerated through our collaboration with industry. This funding will enable Professor Jochen Prehn and others in RCSI to carry out research that will lead to the development new diagnostics and treatments of the third most common cancer”

The research could also lead to improvements in treatment for colorectal cancer, namely immunotherapy, a powerful new approach that has shown to be effective in treating a number of other cancers.

The project is funded by the US National Institutes of Health, Science Foundation Ireland/Health Research Board and the Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D) Division of the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland/Medical Research Council.


see also the link on Dr. Ginty’s Technology


queenslogo CSMGE Healthcare


RCSI/CSM to lead major international study to improve treatment outcomes for brain cancer patients

Friday, 29th September 2017: RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) is leading an international team of scientists on a major research study that aims to train the next generation of brain cancer researchers. The project (“GLIOTRAIN”) has received funding of almost €3.9 million from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

The four-year project will focus on glioblastoma (GBM), the most frequent, aggressive and lethal of all brain tumours. GBM has a universally fatal prognosis with 85% of patients dying within two years. GLIOTRAIN will develop a European biomedical research training programme to investigate this complex disease. Fifteen new PhD students will be trained across the fields of tumour biology, medical oncology, computational biology, genomics, cancer drug delivery and immunotherapy.

The project is led by Professor Annette Byrne, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics & RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine. “New treatment options for GBM patients and effective precision medicine therapies are urgently required. The overall research objective of GLIOTRAIN is to identify novel therapeutic strategies, while implementing state of the art genomics and systems medicine approaches to unravel disease resistance mechanisms. Our consortium brings together leading European and international academics, clinicians, private sector and not-for-profit partners to achieve our goals” Professor Byrne commented. Other RCSI investigators working on the project are Professor Jochen Prehn, Dr Brona Murphy and Dr Marc Sturrock, RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics.

GLIOTRAIN includes major academic and industry researchers from the United States (Champions Oncology) and across Europe, including collaborators in Ireland (Cancer Trials Ireland); Germany (University of Stuttgart, Hannover Medical School, GeneXplain, Insilico Biotechnoloy, Yumab); Luxembourg (Luxembourg Institute of Health, University of Luxembourg, ITTM S.A.); Belgium (VIB, University of Leuven, Oncurious, Agilent Technologies); France (ICM Brain and Spinal Institute Paris, Bristol Myers Squibb, CarThera); Netherlands (Erasmus Medical Centre, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mimetas, Pepscope)  and the UK (International Brain Tumour Alliance). The project will also be supported by the Irish Brain Tumour Biobank, which was established at Beaumont Hospital through generous funding from Brain Tumour Ireland.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 766069.


footer_eu_logo_0 (1)


braintumour ireland logo









see also Brain Tumor Ireland webpage for additional information



European Training Network 15 New PhD Student Positions -Application closing date: Friday 10th Nov 2017

Applications are invited from candidates of excellence wishing to pursue a PhD degree in the field of cancer precision medicine. Students will receive training within a pan-European academic/private sector research training network, specifically focused on brain tumour research. Please see the link below for further information. Submission: applicants should submit the documentation to gliotrain@rcsi.ie writing on the subject line the number of their preferred projects (Example: Projects 1 and 3) by Friday November 10th at 17:00 GMT.

Please see the link below for details:

GLIOTRAIN_PhD Student Positions

Great news for our department and centre: SFI announced it will fund a new Research Centre based at RCSI called FutureNeuro


On May 2nd  2017  The SFI Centres are SFI’s flagship programme for funding research in key fields with significant societal and economic impact and feature major investment from industry partners. FutureNeuro will focus on the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics for chronic and rare neurological diseases underpinned by Ireland’s newly established national electronic healthcare records. The Centre will receive €7.8M in direct costs from SFI and is funded for an initial period of 6 years.

Thursday, 7th September 2017: An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, T.D., together with the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., and the Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, T.D., today announced four new world-class Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres, including the RCSI-led FutureNeuro centre.  The new SFI Research Centres represent an investment of €74 million from the Government over the next six years, with a further investment of €40 million from industry. The investment will support cutting-edge basic and applied research with strong industry engagement, driving economic benefits and positive societal impact.

The four SFI Research Centres will engage in over 80 collaborations with industry partners; both indigenous and foreign; large and small. Prof. David Henshall and Prof. Jochen Prehn attend the official announcements of the awards


FutureNeuro links innovative neurotherapeutics development with genomic and biomarker-based patient stratification, a national eHealth infrastructure and a nationwide clinical network.  Building initially on world-leading pre-clinical and clinical research into epilepsy and motor neurone disease, the FutureNeuro Centre is a scalable platform that will expand quickly to focus on other chronic and rare neurological diseases.  FutureNeuro is relevant to the 700,000 people living with a neurological condition in Ireland, with an associated health and societal cost greater than €3 billion euro each year.  It will strengthen Ireland’s ability to attract foreign direct investment from companies active in the multi-trillion euro global market for diagnostics, treatments and medtech for neurological diseases, and facilitate indigenous companies seeking to access this market.

Speaking at the launch of the four new SFI Research Centres, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, said: “Investing in leading-edge scientific and technological research is good for our economy and helps us to discover new innovations which can improve our quality of life. Our SFI Research Centres represent a virtuous triangle between government, industry and higher education, and show just what can be achieved when there is a shared vision about reaching your ambitions. These four new SFI Research Centres will be centres of activity where Irish and international researchers are trained and collaboration with private companies is facilitated to deliver new ideas and innovation. This in turn helps to create high-value jobs and drives economic growth and regional development. The SFI Research Centres show the value of investing in today, so we can imagine the world of the future.”

Director of Research and Innovation at RCSI, Professor Ray Stallings, welcomed the announcement saying: “Today’s announcement of the RCSI-led FutureNeuro centre as part of the SFI Research Centres programme is testament to the high quality, impactful and innovative research taking place at RCSI. FutureNeuro represents a phenomenal achievement for Professor David Henshall to lead this centre, along with RCSI co-applicants Professor Gianpiero Cavalleri, Professor Jochen Prehn and all of our academic, hospital and industry partners. By bringing expertise from this wide range of collaborating partners, the FutureNeuro centre will have strong capabilities to carry out research that will ultimately lead to new and innovative treatments for a range of neurological diseases, transforming lives in Ireland and globally.”