Cutting-edge technology will be used at the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork to provide a higher level of precision in attacking and killing cancerous tumours.
The hospital and US medical firm University of Pittsburg Medical Centre (UPMC) have teamed up to provide a new radiotherapy service.
The service, which is planned to open in July 2019, will bring the latest and best radiation therapy treatments to patients closer to where they live.
This week, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the population of Cork will grow by 60% over the next 20 years, putting increased pressure on hospitals in the region. Major new acute hospitals are planned for Cork, Dublin, and Galway but sites have yet to be identified. These acute hospitals, together with hospitals to treat planned medical and surgical procedures, are part of the Ireland 2040 plan announced by the Government last year. The radiotherapy centre at the Bon Secours is part of a €77m investment.
UPMC will fund half of the cost of the €13m centre. President of UPMC International, Charles Bogosta, said UPMC will manage the new radiotherapy centre in the Bon Secours and provide all of the doctors and staff.
“It will have the capacity to treat up to 75 patients a day and 95% will be day patients,” he said.
UPMC, together with the Bon Secours Health System, held a national oncology symposium at Páirc Uí Chaoimh presented by Irish and international cancer care experts yesterday.
Bon Secours Health System CEO Bill Maher said they want to highlight the very highest quality of services that could be delivered.
“It is a significant part of our ambitious 2020 strategy to launch our new services soon and raise awareness of this important issue,” he said.
Over the last 20 years, hundreds of patients at the Bon Secours secured access to new and better drugs by volunteering to take part in clinical trials. Some of the drugs successfully trialled include Herceptin and Palbociclib — two drugs now used internationally by thousands of breast cancer patients. The hospital was also the only Munster site that participated in the trial of Lonsurf, a drug now used in the treatment of late-stage colon cancer.
Brian Bird, consultant medical oncologist at the hospital, said that with two research nurses, a data manager and a research pharmacist they could offer their patients new hope.
Current trials include new treatments for breast and ovarian cancer. Collaborative work started in the hospital has won funding from University College Cork and Science Foundation Ireland.
“We are grateful to our predecessors who started this great work and are happy to build on it with UPMC looking forward to opening radiotherapy trials in the future,” said Dr Bird.
The Bon Secours is the largest private hospital in Ireland and has been treating patients in the Munster region for more than 100 years.
The extensive expansion of the hospital is the largest investment undertaken by the Bon Secours and is a key part of it €150m injection in its five acute hospitals.
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