Galway-based NUIG researcher Dr Eva Szegezdi was announced as a finalist at the Irish Cancer Society’s Researcher of the Year 2012, which took place at a special Celebration of Research night in Dublin last week.
Dr Szegezdi, a research fellow currently funded by the Irish Cancer Society, was announced as a finalist at the event in recognition of her research entitled, ‘Blazing a new TRAIL in cancer therapy’, which looks at boosting the ability of a TRAIL protein — which plays a role in tumour cell death — to kill cancer cells. The study, carried out at NUI Galway, modified the structure of the TRAIL protein and generated a version of TRAIL that possessed a much higher tumour-killing activity and, as a result of mathematical modelling, identified potential therapeutics with high and specific tumouricidal activity.
“I am honoured to be announced a finalist for the Irish Cancer Society’s Researcher of the Year 2012,” Dr Szegezdi said at the ceremony. “The society has been extremely supportive of my research project from the outset and I’m very grateful for their funding, without which this cancer study would not have been possible.”
The winner on the night was oesophageal cancer researcher Dr Stephen Maher from Celbridge, Co Kildare whose research, carried out at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at St James’s Hospital, found that the nucleic acid microRNA-31 to predict the response to radiation treatment, and to enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy.
The other finalist was Dr Carol Stone for her advanced cancer research at Our Lady’s Hospital entitled, ‘Recognising the risk of falling in patients with advanced cancer’. Dr Stone’s study has led to the development of fall prevention policies for cancer patients and further research in this area.
“We are very proud of all three shortlisted researchers who are helping to further enhance Ireland’s contribution to the international cancer research community,” said Professor John Fitzpatrick, head of research at the Irish Cancer Society. “We congratulate Dr Maher for his pioneering study, which was very deserving of this award for its powerful insights and results.
“Last year, the Irish Cancer Society contributed more than €3.2 million to cancer research, making us the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland,” Prof Fitzpatrick added. “This year, to mark our 50th anniversary, we want to raise significant funding for cancer research on Daffodil Day (March 22 ), which will support our mission to make important discoveries that will move us towards a future without cancer.”
For further information on the Irish Cancer Society’s programme or to make a donation, visit www.cancer.ie or contact the Irish Cancer Society on Call Save 1850 60 60 60.