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Press Release

Press release

Minister for Health to open new clinical research facility in Cork

5 March 2012

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, is in Cork today to open a new Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility at the Mercy University Hospital. The facility will provide 10 jobs and will enable local researchers and health professionals to participate in world-class research initiatives. Patients in the region will benefit by having options to participate in clinical trials and access to the most current advances in treatment.

The facility provides the necessary clinical space, IT infrastructure, expertise and equipment to allow health professionals to conduct the highest quality of research. Studies will focus on advancing our understanding of, and improving treatment in areas such as cancer, heart disease and bowel disease and nutrition. Researchers and health professionals will test potential new patient therapies and compare the risks, benefits and cost-effectiveness of established treatments. The initiative is co-funded by the Health Research Board and University College Cork (UCC), with the support of the Health Service Executive.

According to Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD,

'This is an important day for Cork and the country as a whole. The opening of this facility represents a strong commitment to research. This facility will provide a way for clinicians and key partners to test innovative therapies, techniques and products to the benefit of patients'.

Prof Joe Eustace, Director of the HRB CRF in Cork, says,

'The new facility will allow scientists in UCC to work closely with clinicians in Mercy University Hospital and Cork University Hospital, as well as with primary care physicians, to conduct patient-focused research. It will also enable Cork investigators to collaborate in this work with other National and International centres of excellence'.

The researchers at the CRF will work closely with the Department of Epidemiology in UCC to study the causes and determinants of illness and disability in the general population. Examples of this work include:

  • A European funded trial (The Trust study) which will examine whether treating patients with a mildly underactive thyroid will reduce their subsequent risk of heart disease
  • A study to find a better way to quantify dietary intakes and the association of novel dietary risk factors, such as phosphate, with circulatory problems in primary care patients.
  • An investigation into health issues within specific sections of the population, such as the presence of unrecognized asthma among athletes.

Speaking about this latest development in the national network of HRB Clinical Research Facilities, Enda Connolly, Chief Executive at the HRB says,

'If innovative ideas, new therapies, diagnostics or devices are going to be tested it is essential that this happens in a regulated environment, meeting the highest international standards. The HRB Clinical Research Facility here in Cork is another step in our strategic plan to develop the infrastructure, expertise, and capacity to support an integrated and regulated framework for clinical research in Ireland'.

Sandra Daly, CEO, Mercy University Hospital says,

'The opening of the new HRB Clinical Research Facility at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) is an endorsement of the MUH Strategic Plan 2010 - 2014 and builds on the work of the Cork Cancer Research Centre in recent years.

The facility highlights the commitment from the Board of Governors to Mercy University Hospital's role as a teaching hospital and shows the hospital?s dedication to education and research in supporting the wider research community in collaboration with industry.

The research facility is aligned to the Mercy ethos of putting the patient first and is an exciting and welcome new development for the hospital, supporting advances in treatment for a widespread variety of diseases and world-class experimental medicine'.

Notes to editors

The HRB CRF - Cork also has Children's Discovery Centre, a dedicated paediatric research facility. This was opened last year in Cork University Hospital - a strategic move due to the established paediatric research programmes and neo-natal care already in place at the hospital.

In addition to this investment in Cork, the HRB is funding the establishment of two additional facilities in Dublin and Galway. The Wellcome Trust is co-funding the build in Dublin. These three facilitates will network together using standardised practices and procedures in clinical research conduct thereby greatly increasing Ireland's appeal as a country of choice for performing large-scale multinational clinical research studies.

ENDS

For more information contact

Gillian Markey, Communications Manager, Health Research Board
t +353 1 2345103    m +353 87 2288514    e gmarkey@hrb.ie

Or

Brian Cummins, Communications Officer, Health Research Board
t +353 1 2345136    m +353 86 8037551    e bcummins(at)hrb.ie

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