Healthcare Experts to Discuss Treatment, Recovery and Life after Stroke at RCSI MyHealth Free Public Lecture

Revolutionary clot retrieval procedure now being performed on patients at Beaumont Hospital dramatically improves patient outcomes

People who suffer a stroke can face a number of challenges in how it will impact their everyday lives. However, the quicker patients receive immediate treatment for stroke, in terms of early identification and medical procedures, the less damage it can do the patient in the long term. Additionally, there are a variety of rehabilitation options and community services available to stroke patients and their families in the aftermath that can improve the quality of life for stroke patients. 

20161130114536_myhealth-stroke

These will be the focus of a free public lecture taking place as part of the RCSI MyHealth Lecture Series in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) this evening, Wednesday, 30 November 2016. The lecture, entitled ‘Living with Stroke – Advancing Patient Care in Ireland’, will be held from 6.30-8.30pm at RCSI, 123 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

The lecture will give information to members of the public on a recently opened thrombectomy (clot retrieval) services centre at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. A thrombectomy is a novel clot retrieval procedure used to treat stroke patients which has been found to dramatically improve patient outcomes and reduce disability and deaths from stroke. Research from RCSI and Beaumont Hospital found that a thrombectomy reduces overall stroke patient mortality rate by 50%, and is therefore leading the way in revolutionising how stroke is being treated in Ireland.

A thrombectomy is performed by inserting a thin tube into the artery in the groin, through the body, and into the blood vessels in the brain to remove the clot. This is done under image-guided care using an X-ray. The clot is then removed by a retrievable stent and pulled out, restoring blood flow to the brain. When compared with the process of thrombolysis, the current standard treatment which involves administering ‘clot busting’ medication to dissolve the blood clot, thrombectomy was found to reduce overall patient mortality by 50%. The study also found that this procedure increased positive outcomes for patients from 30% to 55% as compared with current standard treatment.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, event chair, Professor David Williams, Associate Professor in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine, RCSI and Consultant Stroke Physician at Beaumont Hospital said, “Stroke is a major health issue in Ireland, and although deaths from stroke are down by a quarter*, one in every five people in Ireland will suffer a stroke in their lifetime**. A ground-breaking international clinical trial, which was led in Ireland by RCSI and Beaumont Hospital, found a marked reduction in disability and death among patients who receive thrombectomies for acute ischemic stroke****. This led to the establishment of Beaumont Hospital’s thrombectomy services centre which is leading the way in improving care for stroke patients throughout the country. The aim of this RCSI MyHealth lecture is to give attendees some useful information on the current and future landscape of stroke treatment in Ireland, while giving an insight into some of the research taking place which is looking at advancing healthcare for all stroke patients all over the country. We want to get the message across that getting quick and early access to treatment is vital for all types of stroke”.

The event will consist of four speakers and will be chaired by Professor Williams, who will speak about stroke in Ireland and discuss stroke services at Beaumont Hospital. Professor Anne Hickey, Associate Professor in Psychology at the Department of Psychology, RCSI, will then speak about the ways in which stroke affects patients in terms of their mood and cognition, as well as detailing a study which she is leading, called StrokeCog, which involves examining the consequences of stroke-related cognitive impairment and developing an intervention for rehabilitation of cognitive problems after stroke.

Professor Frances Horgan, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy, RCSI will then talk about life after stroke for patients in Ireland. Outlining the various types of rehabilitation many patients will go through, Professor Horgan will give some practical advice for those who have, or know someone who is living with stroke. She will also discuss some research she has conducted with the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) that investigates the factors affecting patients who wish to return to work after their stroke.

Finally, Helena O’Donnell of IHF will talk about patient advocacy and the F.A.S.T stroke awareness campaign, as well as two stroke audits the IHF have worked on recently which aim to improve access to stroke services for patients and will provide information on IHF’s stroke support groups which are growing all around Ireland.

This event is part of the RCSI MyHealth public lecture series which is free of charge; however registration is essential in order to guarantee a place. Register at www.rcsi.ie/myhealth. For those who are unable to attend on the night, the lecture will also be live streamed at www.rcsi.ie and you can join the conversation online, on the night, on Twitter at #RCSIMyHealth.

900 healthcare and research professionals to graduate from RCSI at November Conferring Ceremonies

Celebrations commenced with Conferring Dinner and President’s Teaching Awards

15 November 2016

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) conferred 200 candidates with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at two conferring ceremonies at the College on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. These are the first of four November conferring ceremonies, which will see a total of 925 candidates graduate from RCSI this week.

The first ceremony saw the graduation of 99 candidates from full-time undergraduate programmes including BSc Pharmacy, BSc Physiotherapy and medicine (MB, BCh, BAO (NUI, RCSI), LRCP&SI).

In the afternoon ceremony, 101 candidates were conferred at the Diploma, Masters and Doctoral Degree ceremony. During this ceremony, Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates in Health Professions Education, Postgraduate Diplomas in Human Factors in Patient Safety were presented to 36 candidates. A further 65 candidates were awarded doctoral and masters degrees at this event. These were conferred with Masters of Surgery (MCh) and higher degrees by research including MSc, MD and PhD; and MSc in Healthcare, Ethics & Law and Human Factors and Patient safety.

Congratulating all those graduating on their success, Professor Cathal Kelly said: “The November conferring ceremonies are a fitting recognition of our graduate’s accomplishments as all of their years of hard work and dedication  came to fruition. These future healthcare and research professionals will now leave RCSI, to continue on their exciting and varied career paths, all with the common goal of improving human health. I would like to congratulate everyone who will graduate today on their achievements and wish them success in their careers as healthcare professionals and I look forward to seeing them back at the College as Alumni of RCSI.”

The celebrations began yesterday evening with the conferring dinner for pharmacy and physiotherapy undergraduates and higher degree candidates from the School of Postgraduate Studies. More than 130 candidates and guests attended the dinner which took place in the College Hall. The President of RCSI, Professor John Hyland announced the winners of the President’s Teaching Awards for pharmacy and physiotherapy as Dr Sam Maher, Lecturer at the School of Pharmacy and Dr Dara Meldrum, Senior Lecturer at the School of Physiotherapy.

The November Conferrings will conclude with two further ceremonies, for the School of Nursing & Midwifery and Masters Degree candidates, on Thursday, 17 November ceremony which will take place at The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD). Once again, these events will be live-streamed from the RCSI website. At this ceremony, the seventh Honorary Doctorate will be bestowed on Professor Áine Hyland, Emeritus Professor of Education and former Vice-President of University College Cork.

New RCSI Research finds High Prevalence of Risk Factors for Patients Post Stroke

A new research study has found a high prevalence of risk factors for patients at six months post stroke, despite the widespread prescription of secondary preventative measures.  The ASPIRE-S research study was carried out by researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and funded by the Health Research Board (HRB).  The research set out to assess whether patients who experience an ischaemic stroke (IS) receive the necessary secondary preventative therapy which aims to reduce the risk of future stroke following discharge from hospital.
Ischemic stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked.  The brain depends on its arteries to bring fresh blood from the heart and lungs. The blood carries oxygen and the necessary  nutrients to the brain, and takes away carbon dioxide and cellular waste.
According to the research, a number of important targets for preventative therapy were not being met in Ireland. These included 68% of patients with a BMI greater than 25 (in other words overweight or obese); 16% of patients still smoking; 63% of patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, 23% with high cholesterol levels; and 28% of diabetic patients with poor control of their condition.
Commenting on the research, Professor David Williams, Head of the RCSI Department of Geriatric Medicine & Consultant Stroke Physician said “Our research highlights the need to improve the management of preventative interventions for patients after ischaemic stroke to ensure patients lower their risk of another ischaemic stroke. We can do this by streamlining the management of patients, incorporating guidelines into quality assurance cycles in stroke care, educating patients and providing risk management programmes for patients.”
The ASPIRE-S study also found that 57% of patients had cognitive impairment, such as difficulties with memory, visual and executive functioning (published in BMC Neurology, 2015). Many patients reported psychological distress. Despite this high prevalence of cognitive and mood difficulties, almost two-thirds of patients did not receive any form of psychological service either in hospital or in the community. A related paper published in the International Journal of Stroke (2015) examined the impact of stroke on family carers of people with stroke. Substantial levels of dissatisfaction with community and hospital services were reported, as well as notable levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms among caregivers, with caregiver and stroke patient well-being found to be strongly interdependent.
Professor Anne Hickey, Head of the Department of Psychology, RCSI said “Cognitive impairment is associated with a poorer quality of life for patients following stroke and is a significant impediment to patients returning to their activity and engagement levels pre-stroke. The high levels of anxiety and emotional challenges reported by patients’ and caregivers highlights the need for access to psychological services post-stroke as part of routine stroke rehabilitation.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Ireland (1). The WHO estimates stroke is the second most common cause of death and the fourth leading cause of disability.
The research was led by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and conducted in collaboration with Beaumont Hospital, Connolly Hospital and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. The research was published in BioMedCentral Neurology.
ENDS
Editors Notes
  • Data from 256 patients was used in the study over a six month period.
  • 34% of patients were under 65years of age and 66% were over 65.
  • 43% of patients were female and 57% were male.
  • The average age for patients presenting with stroke was 69.
References

RCSI – Global Research Team Achieve Breakthrough in the Treatment of Hereditary Emphysema

Team involving Professor Gerry McElvaney from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland involved in global study

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) have made an important breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of hereditary emphysema.  The findings of this global study, published in the premier medical journal, Lancet, indicate that early introduction of A1P1 protein augmentation therapy to patients with emphysema may be beneficial in the treatment of the condition.

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Department of Medicine, RCSI led a team of international colleagues to scientifically validate that A1P1 protein augmentation therapy is successful in slowing the progression of emphysema and loss of lung density, signalling a breakthrough in the treatment of hereditary emphysema.

Alpha 1 is an inherited disorder that results in low levels of the alpha 1-antitrypsin (A1P1) protein in blood and in the lungs. In adults, this genetic condition often results in debilitating syndromes such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which comprises emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is characterised by destruction of the lung tissue needed to carry oxygen from the air into the bloodstream and chronic bronchitis leads to the over production of mucus in the lungs. This causes shortness of breath in its mildest form and in its severest form, patients must use an oxygen mask and may need a lung transplant. The first single lung and first double lung transplant recipients in Ireland were people with Alpha-1.

Alpha-1 is much more common in Ireland than most other countries. After cystic fibrosis, it is the most common fatal inherited lung condition in Ireland. Alpha-1 is estimated to affect more than 3,000 people nationally in its most severe form and the less severe form may affect as many as 200,000 individuals in Ireland. 1 in 25 Irish individuals carry the gene for the disease.

The findings of this study increases the chances that this form of therapy will be licensed and reimbursed in Ireland in the future. Augmentation therapy is the use of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein (AAT) purified from the blood of healthy human donors to increase the alpha-1 levels circulating in the blood and lungs of Alphas diagnosed with emphysema.

The study, which was carried out in 28 centres across 13 countries, measured the efficacy of augmentation therapy over a four year period. A total of 23 patients from Ireland were involved in the study, the majority of whom are still receiving the medication today.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine, RCSI said, “The findings of the study shows that augmentation therapy involving a naturally occurring protein is successful and early treatment is of benefit. This research gives new hope for a better quality of life for sufferers of hereditary emphysema and COPD and thus bridges the gap between research and treatment.”

The research findings were published in Lancet, a prestigious journal that highlights medical advances resulting from scientific research. The study was carried out by a team of global physicians from countries including Canada, Denmark, Australia and Ireland on behalf of the RAPID Trial Study Group and was funded through CSL Behring and the Alpha One Foundation.

RCSI is among the top 50 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education University World Rankings, 2014-15). It is a not-for-profit health sciences institution focused on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.

 

Malaria vaccine tested at RCSI proves successful in first human trial

Two new malaria vaccines which have undergone a clinical trial in humans, carried out by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in Dublin, have been proven to be well tolerated and produce a strong immune response. The results of the clinical trial are published in the current issue of the journal PLOS ONE. The clinical trial was conducted by researchers at RCSI’s Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine at the RCSI Clinical Research Centre in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, in collaboration with the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford. The project is funded by the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) with the support of Irish Aid.

This is the first time the new vaccines were trialled in humans and the first human clinical trial of any malaria vaccine to be carried out in Ireland. Completion of this type of “first in human” study (phase one) in Ireland is significant not only for malaria vaccine research, but also for translational research in general in Ireland.

The clinical trial involved 24 Irish volunteers who received the vaccines to assess safety and the immune responses. The vaccines were found to have an excellent safety profile and produced the appropriate immune response, generating specific T cells that are primed to respond to malaria proteins. Combining these vaccines with others in development may lead to a vaccine that could prevent malaria, which would have a huge impact on human health as a result. The vaccines have now progressed to the next phase of clinical trials at the University of Oxford.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 207 million cases of malaria occurred globally in 2012 and 627,000 malaria deaths. Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) occurred in Africa and most deaths (77%) were in children under five years of age.

The first author on the study is Dr Eoghan De Barra, Research Fellow, RCSI Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine, who worked with collaborators at RCSI and senior author Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at University of Oxford.

Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Cooperation, Mr Seán Sherlock, TD said: “Irish Aid has contributed €8 million to EVI since 2007 and will continue our support into 2015. I am very encouraged to see the positive outcome of this important trial being carried out by Irish researchers as part of an international effort to address a global health problem that affects millions worldwide. Irish researchers are making a contribution to finding new and better products to improve the health of some of the most vulnerable populations in low income countries, and this is supported by longstanding Irish Aid work in vaccine development internationally and through support to EVI.”

Professor Sam McConkey, Head of the RCSI Department of International Health & Tropical Medicine and Senior Author on the study commented: “Malaria remains a major cause of mortality in the world, with almost 700,000 deaths annually. In low income countries where malaria is endemic, the expensive multi-drug therapy required to treat malaria is often not an available option so there is a need for new preventative tools.The results of the RCSI malaria vaccine trial, which demonstrate both safety for the patient and a positive clinical and immunological response, are very promising and represent an important step in the development of an effective vaccine for the disease.”

“Conducting this first in human trial at the RCSI Clinical Research Centre moves Ireland’s research capacity for developing better interventions for human diseases into a new space. All stages of clinical development of new drugs and devices, can now be carried out in Ireland, as well as manufacturing and distribution. This new clinical trial capacity at RCSI in Ireland will enable biotechnology companies and major pharmaceutical manufacturers to carry out the critical steps of moving potential products into human trials in Ireland.” Professor McConkey concluded.

Dr Odile Leroy, Executive Director of EVI said: “It is a great pleasure and honour to see our long-lasting collaboration with RCSI and University of Oxford adding a major piece to the complex scientific puzzle of designing the second generation of malaria vaccine. This would not have been possible without the support of Irish Aid.”

The two new malaria vaccines (ChAd63 CS and MVA CS) were developed at University of Oxford and use the gene for malarial circumsporozoite protein inserted into a weakened adenovirus.

 

Malaria vaccine trial
Pictured at the RCSI Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin are (L-R), Prof. Samuel McConkey, Principal Investigator and Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine, RCSI, Ann Collins, Research Nurse, RCSI, Liz Fogarty, Research Nurse, RCSI, Kerrie Hennigan, Research Assistant, RCSI and Dr. Eoghan de Barra, Research fellow, RCSI.
RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree-awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.

EVI is a leading European non-profit Product Development Partnership that has the principal objective to develop effective, accessible, and affordable vaccines against malaria and other diseases of poverty. Since its inception in 1998 it has contributed to the development of 32 malaria vaccine candidate formulations with 16 vaccine candidates being advanced into phase I clinical trials, three of which have been transitioned for further clinical development in sub-Saharan Africa. EVI leads global efforts in the development of vaccines against diseases of poverty, while also acting as coordinator of several initiatives/consortia to create harmonisation between all global stakeholders in vaccine research. EV is co-founder of the Malaria Vaccine Funders Group and is hosted by Heidelberg University in Germany. EVI is currently funded by Irish Aid, the European Commission, EDCTP, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

‘The Science Squad’ to sign off series by honing in on RCSI research into lung disease

This third series of RTE’s The Science Squad concludes this evening on RTE One from 8.30pm. This final episode is the third in the series to feature research from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). The work of Professor Gerry McElvaney (Department of Medicine) and his team into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will be explored by the Science Squad.


Prof Gerry McElvaney talks to Jonathon McCrea in is lab on the final ‘Science Squad’ episode of the series

Episode 6 – Lung Health – Monday 1st December
Jonathon McCrea wraps up the third series of The Science Squad by meeting with RCSI’s Professor of Medicine, Professor Gerry McElvaney to talk about his team’s research into COPD. COPD is the term given to a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe. Prof McElvaney and his team have discovered that the high prevalence of COPD in this country could be linked to a genetic lung condition (Alpha-1) which affects 1 in 24 Irish people, 90% of which are undiagnosed. Jonathon also meets two people who were diagnosed with Alpha-1 to find out how the disease has impacted their lives.


Prof McElvaney examines a patient in the episode

Presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, the Science Squad will investigate some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects currently underway in Ireland. RCSI will feature in three of the six episodes in the new series which will be aired on RTE One on Monday nights at 8.30pm. This is the third episode in the third series of this programme.

RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.

Topical health issues to be explored at new RCSI MiniMed lecture series

Mental health, breast cancer, pregnancy screening, antibiotics and anxiety lectures to form part of the series

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) today announced the programme for its RCSI Open Lecture Series for 2014/2015. The series of health lectures is open free of charge to the public and will be held on the last Wednesday of every month from October 2014 to March 2015 (excluding December 2014).

The first lectures in the series on 29th October will explore the important topic of mental health. Ms. Helen Coughlan from the RCSI Department of Psychiatry will give a guide to nurturing mental health and also discuss how to recognise and respond to signs of mental health problems. The second topic of the evening will deal with leg ulcers and will discuss the cause, the care and prevention.

In November, leading breast cancer specialist Professor Arnold Hill will give a talk on breast cancer and give an update on the latest research and what is now known of this disease. The second lecture of the night on screening in pregnancy will be given Professor Fergal Malone, a leading Obstetrics & Gynaecology consultant.
In 2015, lectures will include a feature evening dedicated to exploring the history of anti-anxiety medicines from the phenomenon of ‘Mothers Little Helper’ in the 1960’s to the Irish context today. This event will also feature a panel discussion on anti-anxiety medication use in Ireland. Additional topics to be explored include concussion, expedition medicine and antibiotic resistance

Dr Maria Morgan, Director of the RCSI MiniMed Series said ‘This year’s RCSI MiniMed lecture series explores health related topics that are very relevant in Irish society today.  I would encourage anybody who is interested in learning more about topical health issues to register to attend the RCSI MiniMed Lecture Series. In an age of increased patient participation and greater health awareness, these free public talks affords people the opportunity to learn more about health related issues from leading experts. Another unique feature of these talks is that they are easy to understand and are presented to attendees in layman’s terms’.

The RCSI MiniMed Open Lecture Series is free of charge to the public; however registration is essential in order to guarantee a place.  Previous lecture series have attracted widespread public interest with demand for places far outstripping availability. Register online at www.rcsi.ie/minimed. You can also follow the topics and join the conversation on the night, on Twitter using the #RCSIMiniMed hashtag.

What is the 2014/2015 RCSI MiniMed Lecture Series:
Find out more with this short video featuring Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO / Registrar, RCSI

Wednesday 29th  October 2014
‘Mental Health Matters: a guide to nurturing your mental health and to recognising and responding to signs of mental health problems ‘ (19.00-20.00)
Helen Coughlan, Clinical Research Fellow, RCSI Department of Psychiatry

‘Leg Ulcers – More Than Just Skin Deep’ (20.00-21.00)
Professor Zena Moore, Head of RCSI School of Nursing & Midwifery; & Julie Jordan O’Brien, Tissue Viability Nurse, Beaumont Hospital

Wednesday 26th  November 2014
‘Breast Cancer – What do we know now?’ (19.00-20.00)
Professor Arnold Hill, Head of School of Medicine and Professor of Surgery, RCSI

‘Screening in Pregnancy – Is my baby normal?’ (20.00-21.00)
Professor Fergal Malone, Professor and Chairman of the RCSI Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Wednesday 28th January 2015
‘Management of Concussion’ (19.00-20.00)
Professor Michael G. Molloy, Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (FSEM), RCPI & RCSI

‘Emergency Care in Remote Areas – Wilderness Medicine on Kilimanjaro’ (20.00-21.00)
Dr Padraig Sheeran, Dean of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine (FSEM), RCPI & RCSI

Wednesday 25th  February 2015
‘Mammy’s little helper – the Irish relationship with anxiety medication’ (19.00-20.00)
Dr Helena Kelly, Senior  Lecturer in the RCSI School of Pharmacy; and Professor Paul Gallagher, Head of the RCSI School of Pharmacy

‘Anti-anxiety medication use in Ireland today – problem cause or cure?’ – A panel debate (20.00-21.00)

Wednesday 25th  March 2015
‘Have the superbugs won; antibiotic resistance’ (19.00-20.00)
Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, RCSI Senior Lecturer in Clinical Microbiology & Consultant Microbiologist, Beaumont Hospital

‘Insights into Antibiotic Use from a General Practitioner’ (20.00-21.00)
Dr Nuala O’Connor, ICGP Lead for Healthcare-associated Infection & Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention

 

RCSI welcomes SFI funding to support early career researchers

On July 7th, Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock, T.D. announced €23 million in new funding to help support 40 of Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers. The funding is being awarded through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) and Career Development Award (CDA) Programmes.

Four RCSI researchers were among those to be awarded funding. Two senior post-doctoral researchers from RCSI were recipients of the Starting Investigator Grants: Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel. Both work in the epilepsy research laboratory in the Physiology Department at the RCSI and are mentored by Professor David Henshall. Both projects focus on molecules called microRNAs which work to control of protein levels in cells.

Career Development Awards were announced for two RCSI Senior Lecturers: Dr Annette Byrne, Department of Physiology and Medical Physics, for a project on metastatic colorectal cancer; and Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), for research into genetic biomarkers for epilepsy.

Professor Ray Stallings, RCSI Director of Research said: “RCSI welcomes the announcement to provide major funding to four RCSI research projects through the Science Foundation Ireland Programmes. This is a fantastic achievement and underlines the cutting-edge and competitive research work performed at RCSI. The funding will enable the SIRG awardees to develop new research interests and establish themselves as independent researchers, while CDA awardees will have the opportunity to further develop and strengthen their independent research programmes. These awards reflect the immense hard-work and outstanding research and translational achievements being carried out by the awardees.”

A further 12 projects were also deemed scientifically excellent by the International Review Panel and are on a reserve list to be funded by SFI, if budgets permit later in the year. RCSI researchers on the reserve list were Drs Steven Kerrigan, Markus Rehm and Stephen Madden.

SFI’s Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) provides support for excellent postdoctoral researchers who wish to take steps towards a fully independent research career, while the Career Development Award (CDA) aims to support early and mid-career researchers who already hold a salaried, independent research post and who are looking to expand their research activities. Both programmes aim to support the development of young researchers with the potential to become excellent, fully independent research leaders in their chosen fields.

Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock TD said: “Funding for researchers at the outset of their careers is an important element of the Government’s strategy for job creation in research and innovation under our Action Plan for Jobs. SFI’s funding schemes for early career researchers help ensure that excellent research with the potential for real economic and societal impact is properly supported in Ireland. Investment like this is important for Ireland’s developing international reputation for excellent research with impact. The 40 research projects being awarded by SFI today demonstrate the enormous talent and potential that exists among Ireland’s young researchers.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Both of the programmes under which funding is being announced today will help promising young researchers to create and develop impactful careers here in Ireland and in turn enable the pursuit of scientific research that has potential economic and societal impact. These programmes are also an important factor in ensuring that Ireland can succeed in persuading top young scientific talent from abroad to base their research efforts here in Ireland.”

Founded in 1784, RCSI’s mission is to develop healthcare leaders who make a difference worldwide. RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences organisation which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.

Pictured at the announcement are (l-r) Professor David Henshall, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Professor Mark Ferguson (Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government) Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel
Pictured at the announcement are (l-r) Professor David Henshall, Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri, Professor Mark Ferguson (Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government) Dr Eva Jimenez Mateos and Dr Tobias Engel

List of RCSI Funded Projects

SIRG Awards
SFI Research Scientist                                                                                    Total Award

Tobias Engel, RCSI
Novel treatments and diagnostics for epilepsy via the ATP-gated P2X7 receptor
519,890.00
Eva Jimenez-Mateos, RCSI
microRNA in the pathogenesis and prognosis of neonatal brain injury
                                                                                                                              519,635.00
2013 CDA Approved Awards

Annette Byrne, RCSI
ColoForetell: A Xenopatient Discovery Platform for the integrated Systems based Identification of Predictive Biomarkers for Targeted Therapies in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
629,241.00

Gianpiero Cavalleri, RCSI
Genetic biomarkers for epilepsy predisposition and treatment
624,038.00

Reserve List CDA

Steven Kerrigan, RCSI
Endothelial dysfunction in severe blood stream infection
                                                                                                                              593,138.00

Markus Rehm RCSI
Improving melanoma treatment and prognosis by deciphering and exploiting an autophagy-dependent pathway towards apoptotic cell death
620,927.00

Reserve List SIRG

Stephen Madden, RCSI
The Molecular Characterisation of Ovarian Cancer
441,806.00

Novel training approach to management of ruptured aneurysms introduced to Ireland

A new approach to the management of ruptured aneurysms from presentation in the emergency department through to keyhole surgery and aftercare is being implemented by a team at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and Beaumont Hospital. The first team training day to enable this minimally invasive approach in a hospital setting in Ireland took place at Beaumont Hospital, led by Mr Peter Naughton and Mr Daragh Moneley, Consultant Vascular Surgeons, RCSI.

Previously, ruptured aortic aneurysms (a swelling of the artery) were treated by open surgery. In recent years, minimally invasive ‘keyhole’ endovascular techniques have been developed which can avoid open surgery in certain cases. This incurs a number of changes in the management of the patients at the time of arrival in the emergency department.

The multidisciplinary team training which has taken place at RCSI and Beaumont Hospital involved doctors in the emergency department, interventional radiologists, vascular lab, ward and theatre nurses to enable implementation of this new minimally-invasive approach to the potentially life-threatening condition. The training involved virtual reality simulation on a symbionix simulator and bench models to practise open repair.

Mr Peter Naughton, Consultant General / Vascular Surgeon, Clinical Lecturer, RCSI said: ‘Multi-disciplinary team-training with clear treatment protocols for ruptured aneurysms may facilitate improved performance and treatment of patients presenting with this catastrophic condition. It is important that surgical trainees and theatre staff are appropriately trained to expediently and efficiently perform both open and endovascular repair of patients with ruptured aneurysms. Access to minimally invasive treatment in suitable candidates will contribute to improved patient care by avoiding increased recovery times and risks associated with open surgery.’

RCSI is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.

RCSI Hosts Inaugural National Surgical Skills Competition

RCSI is hosting the first National Surgical Skills Competition grand final today in the National Surgical Training Centre to give aspiring surgeons from Irish medical schools the opportunity to develop and showcase their surgical skills. The competition will involve the students competing in a range of surgical challenges, from suturing and knot-tying to undertaking key-hole surgery skills tests.

Regional heats have been taking place over the past three months across the six medical schools in Ireland – RCSI, University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and NUI Galway and 12 students have been chosen to go through to the final today.

Explaining the competition, Mr Eunan Friel, Managing Director, Department of Surgical Affairs, RCSI said: ‘As RCSI is the body responsible for setting the standards for surgical practice, training and examinations in Ireland, we strive to achieve the best outcomes for patients. The medical students who are competing here today are our future surgeons and we are delighted to give them the opportunity to experience relevant skills-based challenges at this early point in their careers.’

‘The RCSI National Surgical Skills Competition is a great opportunity for medical students to showcase their surgical skills and gain valuable surgical experience. The competition provides valuable practical experience to support the early skill development of the aspiring surgeons of tomorrow. The competition has been a great success and it is something we will definitely include on the annual surgical calendar.’