By Amy Blaney
A Galway scientist has been recognised for her work in cancer research after winning an award at the 2019 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards.
Dr Aideen Ryan, who lectures in Tumor Immunology in NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, won the award for Research Paper of the Year for her vital research in bowel cancer.
Dr Ryan received the prize as an author for the scientific paper, ‘Stromal cell PD-L1 inhibits CD8+ T-cell antitumor immune responses and promotes colon cancer’, which was published in the journal of Cancer Immunology Research.
The paper was written by a team of authors, led by PhD researcher Grace O’Malley of NUI Galway. Other Galway-based colleagues who contributed include Oliver Treacy, Kevin Lynch, Serika Naicker, Paul Lohan, Thomas Ritter, and Laurence Egan.
After receiving funding by the Irish Cancer Society for research into bowel cancer in 2013, Dr Ryan has worked on finding new ways to treat bowel cancer through immunotherapy treatments, which involves booting the body’s natural defenses against cancer.
“Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in Ireland, so I feel privileged that my Irish Cancer Society funding has given me the chance to explore new ways to treat this disease and save lives,” Dr Ryan said.
“Through my Irish Cancer Society fellowship I wanted to give more hope to people going through the most advanced forms of bowel cancer by exploring better treatments. Since then I’ve used this experience to progress my research and continue the fight to stop this disease.”
The Irish Cancer Society announced at the ceremony that it is on track to invest €30 million into cancer research before 2020 – which is a massive achievement – thanks to the public’s generosity.
Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society, said at the ceremony: “This decade has broken all records for cancer research in Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the Irish Cancer Society has invested more money in life-saving research than ever before, finding better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer.”
The award ceremony was held in Dublin’s House of Lords on Friday 15 February.
The awards recognise the vital work being undertaken by researchers and support staff throughout the country every year and are funded by public donations to the Irish Cancer Society.
The Irish Cancer Society’s annual Daffodil Day will take place on the 22 March. Events will take place around the country to try to raise funds for vital cancer research. To donate or get involved go to cancer.ie/daffodilday.