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An investment of £4.4m ($7m) in a unique academic-business collaboration between Almac and Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB) will help develop better tests for diagnosing and treating prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer.
The research initiative, based at the Center for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s, will be led by Professor Richard Kennedy, one of Almac’s experts in personalized medicine—which tailors specific treatment to each cancer patient.
Invest Northern Ireland and The McClay Foundation, the charitable trust established by the late Sir Allen McClay, are partnering to fund the lab facilities and staff costs. Invest NI has offered the Almac Group and QUB £1.5 million ($2.39 million) of support towards the collaboration, which includes part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
Professor Kennedy, the newly appointed McClay Chair of Experimental Cancer Medicine at Queen’s University—a joint appointment with Almac—said the project was an excellent example of how business and academia could work together in the fight against cancer, the leading cause of death in Western civilizations.
He explained: “The research will involve using technology developed by Almac which will allow us to analyze large numbers of patient tumours collected by Queen’s. We will develop these tests to help clinicians to better understand prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer and prescribe the appropriate treatments tailored to the specific patient. We hope this will then improve the chances of cure using chemotherapy and radiotherapy."