Two cancer patients in their 30s will become the first beneficiaries of a new liver cancer treatment which has been developed on their doorstep.
Pharma company Delcath Systems, which yesterday opened its European headquarters in Galway, has developed the drug, which is set to benefit more than 50,000 people each year.
Delcath Systems developed the Chemosat drug delivery system, which enables the delivery of a concentrated dose of chemotherapy to the liver.
Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore was joined by Delcath chief executive and president Eamon Hobbs at the official opening in Galway yesterday.
It is estimated as many as 56,000 cancer patients in Europe could benefit from the treatment yearly.
But the treatment of the first patients will take place at University Hospital Galway in the coming weeks and, according to Dr Gerry O’ Sullivan, consultant radiologist UHG, it has the ability to be “a real game-changer” in the fight against liver cancer.
“We have two patients lined up to receive the treatment,” said Dr O’Sullivan. “This treatment can change this illness from a death sentence to give patients the possibility of many years of life.
“I have no doubt, as a direct result of opening this factory, that there will be patients alive in Galway and throughout the whole of Ireland in years to come, it is that much of a game-changer; it is not just an improvement.”
Basing their European headquarters in Galway has already seen the creation of 10 jobs for the region, but Mr Hobbs expects that number to grow in the coming years.
“We are very excited about the opportunities for some very high level employment in Galway,” he said. “This is an extremely gratifying business as we are able to bring a tremendous amount of benefit to a large patient group that has very few treatment options.
“This should transfer into a very hardy and high growth business that should generate a tremendous amount of employment in Galway and across Europe.”
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