A major drive is underway by the Cork University Hospital (CUH) Charity to fund cancer testing equipment described as potentially life-changing for patients, while reducing the need for older, gruelling forms of chemotherapy.
By raising a further €275,000, the charity can purchase the so-called Ion Torrent Genexus Integrated Sequencer technology, that will enable consultants to accurately test multiple cancer genes in a single specimen.
Some €75,000 has already been raised by the family of the late Karen Fenton from Ballinora, who died of ovarian cancer, while another €100,000 will be provided by CUH Charity from existing funds.
CUH has seen 200 new patients in radiotherapy and 50 patients in chemotherapy in the last six weeks alone, demonstrating the seriousness of the situation and the necessity to provide a quick turnaround and halt progression of cancers, according to Clinical Director for Cancer Services, Dr Richard Bambury.
He said growth in cancer rates will continue to rise, as the population lives longer, and as new cancers continue to emerge.
'Less likely that older forms of chemotherapy will be needed'
"This is where this vital piece of equipment, the Ion Torrent Genexus Integrated Sequencer technology, will enable consultants to accurately test multiple cancer genes in a single specimen - tissue or blood test," Dr Bambury said.
This test negates the need to rely on single-gene tests, which yield more limited information.
"This test negates the need to rely on single-gene tests, which yield more limited information. Through the use of the new technology, clinicians can get same day results - tests are currently taking approximately two weeks to come back from referral labs in Dublin or the UK - then quickly select the treatments most likely to benefit individual patients, uncover novel treatment options and identify clinical trial possibilities for those with cancer.
"It will be less likely that older forms of chemotherapy will be needed. Saving lives is at the core of what we do, and the added advantage of valuable research gleaned through this world-class sequencer, working with UCC, will undoubtedly be hugely significant for future generations,” Dr Bambury added.
CUH Charity ambassador, Ireland and Munster rugby star Peter O'Mahony, launched the campaign to mark World Ovarian Cancer Day.
“The campaign is supported by the Fenton family in memory of their beautiful daughter and sister Karen who died of ovarian cancer, and they have raised €75,000 to date for the critical technology.
“Cancer has not gone away, so we are forging ahead with fundraising. Along with the €75,000 from the Fenton family, the charity have existing funds of €100,000 but we still need to raise the remaining €275,000 needed to purchase this life-changing technology for cancer patients through our idonate page."
*See the idonate page here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a private donation or submit a fundraising idea.