Oct 29 2014 Posted: 16:14 GMT

Cancer, asthma, kidney injuries and antibiotics are just some of the areas likely to benefit from €13.5 million in funding for new health research projects announced this week by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. A total of 36 projects are being supported by the Health Research Board (HRB) over the next three – five years, four of which have been secured by NUI Galway.

Announcing the investment, Minister Varadkar said:“These 36 projects cover a huge range of areas, including research into stem cell research to fight pneumonia, developing diet and exercise plans following cancer surgery and combating osteoporosis in older HIV patients. Others will look at how to help asthma sufferers who cannot control their condition, new treatments for resistant types of breast cancer, and the impact of salt on kidney function. Many of these projects receiving funding today will go on to make a real difference to people’s lives, not just in Ireland but around the world.

“This investment highlights the Government’s commitment to developing new research in areas with a clear health benefit, as well as developing new approaches to health care, and boosting the medical science sector. Every treatment, every medical device and every procedure in our health service starts with a good idea that has been proved in practice.”

Speaking at the launch of the awards, Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board said:“The HRB focuses on driving more research into policy and practice. This is illustrated by today’s investments. Innovation can help bridge the gap between demand for health services and the resources to pay for them. That innovation comes from implementing top class research, which is our raison d'être at the HRB.”

NUI Galway projects funded include:

  • Sexual assessment and counselling in hospital cardiac rehabilitation: A pilot study by Dr Molly Byrne, School of Psychology;
  • Software in 100 GP practices will enable sophisticated analysis of high blood pressure patients  by Professor Andrew Murphy, General Practice;
  • A randomised controlled trial (the first to address this question), to determine whether a low salt intake, compared to average/moderate intake, is associated with a slower rate of decline in kidney function in patients with chronic kidney impairment by Professor Martin O’Donnell, Associate Director, HRB Clinical Research Facility;
  • Using patient samples and animal models to investigate whether blocking a particular protein can reduce the massive inflammation response in sepsis by Professor Afshin Samali, Biochemistry.

 

The research teams securing the HRB funding are spread across Ireland, with researchers linked to TCD, UCD, NUI Galway, UCC, RCSI, Athlone Institute of Technology, NUI Maynooth and University of Limerick. The HRB will monitor progress in each project and will receive annual and end-of-grant reports. The outcomes from the projects will be assessed, using an international framework, in terms of short and medium terms outcomes like new knowledge, research capacity building, and informing policy. The HRB will also look at the longer term impact of each project such as new innovations including devices, new diagnostics, approaches to care; changes in policy or practice; or economic and commercial activity such as patents and spin-offs.

Ends

 

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