University College Cork (UCC) is taking a major step to progress cancer research in Munster by announcing a new partnership as part of the pursuit to establish an internationally-recognised cancer research institute at the university.
UCC is set to appoint two new professors of medical oncology as part of the efforts.
The positions, funded by UPMC, will establish the foundation for research collaboration between UCC, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre, Pittsburgh.
UCC professor Roisin Connolly said they want to strengthen care in Cork.
"We are very keen for Cork to be viewed as a centre of excellence in cancer care and cancer research.
The university is seeking the best local and international academics in the area of cancer research to take on the roles.
Working with local, national and international collaborators will bring more and better treatment options to the table for cancer patients in Ireland and further afield, said Prof Connolly.
"Our goal is to improve outcomes for patients through translation of innovative scientific findings to clinical trials and practice, bridging UCC and indeed international science with health care for those at risk of or living with cancer.
"Recruitment of the best and brightest in cancer research and clinical care to our region will play a pivotal role in the expansion of UCC’s academic efforts in the cancer space."
The professorships will be fundamental to obtaining future large-scale collaborative funding, receiving regional accreditation from the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes, and will ultimately lead to innovative scientific breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer.
It is hoped the positions will expand research opportunities including areas such as cancer immunology, cancer genetics and early phase clinical trial development.
President of UCC Professor John O'Halloran welcomed Monday's announcement, saying that recruitment such as this is at the heart of the UCC Futures initiative.
"There isn't a family in Ireland that has not been affected by cancer — this partnership will support UCC's contribution to battling this terrible disease."