NI, ROI and USA come together to 'strengthen fight against cancer'

  • The governments of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States of America have come together to "strengthen their fight against cancer" through a renewed tripartite partnership.

    Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, Northern Ireland Minister for Health Robin Swann MLA and Dr Norman E Sharpless MD on behalf of the world-renowned National Cancer Institute of the US (NCI), recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to reinvigorate the Ireland - Northern Ireland – NCI Cancer Consortium.

    The Consortium aims to reduce cancer incidence and mortality on the island of Ireland through cross-border and transatlantic collaborations in cancer research and education.

    Originally established in 1999 following the Good Friday Agreement, the Consortium has established robust cancer clinical trials infrastructure on the island of Ireland and trained over 500 clinicians, health care professionals and scientists to bolster research and knowledge sharing.

    Facilitated by cross border trade body, InterTradeIreland, the Memorandum of Understanding will build on foundations laid by the original partnership, to further critical cancer research.

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    Areas of focus will include enhancing clinical trials for patients across the island of Ireland, supporting research and providing additional training for the next generation of health care professionals and scientists to support cancer care.

    NI Health Minister Robin Swann said that "unfortunately, we are all too aware of the challenges cancer presents right across our jurisdictions but this multilateral partnership will enable us to continue to improve clinical cancer services and patient care nationally, and to foster joint collaborations in cancer research and development."

    "It is particularly timely for us to be further building on strong links and sharing of expertise through coproduction as in Northern Ireland we are currently embarking on the development of a Cancer Recovery Plan and a new Cancer Strategy Northern Ireland," he added.

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    Ken Nelson, Chairperson for InterTradeIreland, said that "over the last two decades, the Cancer Consortium has had an incredible impact on progressing cancer research.

    "Over 35,000 patients have benefited from clinical trials, with the partnership also creating jobs and providing essential funding in a critical area," he continued.

    "Cancer knows no borders, a mantra that lives at the very heart of this collaboration as it continues to deliver a wealth of scientific, health and wellbeing success across international borders.

    "InterTradeIreland is strategically committed to supporting such exciting collaboration recognising that, along with the vital health benefits, it will also boost innovation-led trade opportunities in Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

    The memorandum was signed remotely by partners during a special virtual broadcast ahead of St Patrick’s Day.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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