Device that cuts through plaque in human arteries wins Enterprise Ireland's O

Device that cuts through plaque in human arteries wins Enterprise Ireland's <i>O-image

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The inventor of a tiny device containing micro-blades and a balloon that can cut though blockages in human arteries has won Enterprise Ireland's One to Watch Award 2009. The device was invented by Dr Bruce Murphy during research carried out while based at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. Called a 'flexi-cutting sheath', the device, which contains tiny concealed blades that are exposed by inflating a balloon, is safer and more effective than existing medical devices used to clear blockages in arteries. Dr Bruce Murphy, a mechanical engineer with expertise in vascular disease research, was presented with the award by An Tánaiste Mary Coughlan T.D. at the Enterprise Ireland Applied Research Forum 2009 in the Guinness Storehouse today. Congratulating Dr Murphy on his win, the Tánaiste said: "Irish industry is already benefiting enormously from the knowledge and technology generated in our third level institutions. Dr Murphy is an excellent example of this technology transfer system in action. With support from Enterprise Ireland, he identified a need for a better medical device, developed his unique solution and linked up with entrepreneur Tim McSweeney to produce the device for sale in the global market for peripheral vascular devices which is worth $1.9 billion. It is this type of high value company that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland is focused on and I am pleased to learn that seven new high value companies like this one have already emerged in 2009" she said. The device will help the 500,000 people worldwide that suffer from end-stage renal disease every year. Patients with this disease require dialysis 2-3 times per week which can result in blockages in their bloodstream. Dr Murphy's flexi-cutting sheath can be used to clear these blockages in a safer, more effective way than existing devices. Another use of the device is in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, which results in around 1,000 people in Ireland every year having a limb amputated because the main artery in their arm or leg gets blocked by hardened plaque which cuts off the blood supply. By analysing existing products, Dr Murphy found that current cutting devices have the potential to damage blood vessels as the device is being removed from the body. To address the problem, he developed his balloon mounted flexi-cutting sheath with a protective silicone sheath which wraps around the tiny blades on the device while it is being navigated to and from the blocked site inside an artery by a physician. Because the blades can be retracted back into the flexi sheath when the balloon is deflated, Dr. Murphy has made the process safer for patients. The flexi-cutting sheath is protected by a series of patents filed by NUI Galway. Dr Neil Ferguson from Ignite, NUI Galway's Technology Transfer Office, believes that this invention will improve patient care and is delighted to see it being commercialised. He said: "The patents that protect this invention from other firms developing copy-cat devices are amongst the 114 patent applications filed by NUI Galway over the last 3 years. During this period we have been very successful in generating over 36 licence agreements to both existing and start-up companies. More importantly, we have spun out 7 start-ups over the same period which plays an important role in the development of our economy". Dr Murphy, now at TCD, and business partner Tim McSweeney, are getting support from Enterprise Ireland to set up their new company later this year in Galway to manufacture the device for sale in a niche market worth €100 million. The company will employ up to 10 people initially. Tim Mc Sweeney is no stranger to the medical device sector having played a leading role in establishing the presence of US giant Boston Scientific in Galway in 1994. The award was presented in front of 250 researchers attending Enterprise Ireland's Applied Research Forum 2009, an event which focused on moving more valuable intellectual property and new technologies into companies through the national technology transfer system. -Ends-

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Economists Convene at NUI Galway for Major International Conference

Economists Convene at NUI Galway for Major International Conference-image

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

NUI Galway's J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics is to host the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) from 17 to 20 June. Discussion topics will cover not only standard topics in public economics such as pensions, education and taxation but will also cover more esoteric issues from international stem cell donation to whether the good and the selfish should be taxed differently. Public Economic Theory is concerned with all aspects of the public sector and with the interaction between the public sector and the private sector. Economists working in this broad area are able to pose fundamental questions about how societies want to organise themselves in ways that are efficient and fair. They raise questions about where the limits should lie between market provision and pubic provision. "The annual meeting of APET is one of the most prestigious gathering of economic theorists in the world and the decision to award the 2009 Conference to NUI Galway in the face of stiff opposition is testimony to our initiative and outstanding record of scholarship in this area," said Dr Ashley Piggins one of the local organisers of the conference. "Previous APET conferences have been held in cities such as Paris, Beijing, and Seoul, and we are very excited at the opportunity to add Galway to this list", he added. Over 330 economists are expected to attend the event with over 90% of them coming from outside Ireland. Professors Ted Bergstrom, Rodney Garratt, and Damien Sheehan-Connor from the University of California at Santa Barbara have pioneered research on the economics of stem cells. For many illnesses such as leukaemia effective treatment includes transplanting blood-forming stem cells from a healthy donor whose immune system is compatible with that of the recipient. Finding a compatible stem cell donor outside of one's immediate family is very difficult. Professor Bergstrom says that the existence of registries sharing donors across national borders raises some interesting questions which he and his colleagues have tried to address. For example, how does the size and racial composition of the current registry compare with that of an optimal registry? What motivates people to join the registry? What financial and/or social incentives would be suitable for increasing registry size? Professor Bergstrom adds: "There are remarkable cross-country differences in the percentage of the population enrolled in national bone marrow registries. 10% and 7% of the population of eligible ages are enrolled in Israel and Germany respectively. The corresponding figure is less than 3% in the United States and is much lower again in countries such as Ireland and France. These facts raise fascinating questions about the 'exports and imports' of stem cell transfers across countries". "Presentation of this research in Galway is particularly interesting given the large amount of research being done on stem cells in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway," said Brendan Kennelly another of the local organisers of the conference and economics lecturer at NUI Galway. "The authors' ability to think outside the box illustrates that economics has the potential to be a very exciting discipline which can help us to think about many of the most interesting and difficult problems that we face today". For further information on the 10th Annual Conference of the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) please contact Brendan.kennelly@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

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Summer Conferring at NUI Galway

Summer Conferring at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) NUI Galway will confer almost 200 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies tomorrow, Tuesday, 16 June, 2009. The largest cohort of students to graduate will be ninety-seven Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating will be fifty-three Ph.D. students from across all disciplines. As well as students from locations across the country receiving their degrees and diplomas, there will also be international students from Kuwait and Malaysia. Speaking ahead of tomorrow's ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the growth in research in the University and how it is reflected in the numbers of Ph.D. students graduating: "We have doubled the number of Ph.D. graduates since the start of the decade and it is very encouraging to see this number of research degrees which we are conferring today". President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: "Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous". The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 26 June. Bronnadh Céimeanna an tSamhraidh OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Bronnfaidh OÉ Gaillimh céim ar bheagnach 200 mac léinn as Coláiste Leighis, Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice, Coláiste na hEolaíochta, Coláiste an Ghnó, An Bheartais Phoiblí agus an Dlí agus Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léann Ceilteigh amárach, Dé Máirt, an 16 Meitheamh 2009. Ar an ngrúpa is mó díobh beidh seacht gcloigeann déag agus ceithre scór de mhic léinn a bhainfidh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Mháinliacht agus Bainsiléir i Liacht Bhan amach (MB, BCh, BAO). Beidh trí mhac léinn Ph.D. agus caoga as gach disciplín ag fáil a gcéime chomh maith. Mar aon le mic léinn as gach cearn den tír a mbeifear ag bronnadh céime nó dioplóma orthu beidh mic léinn idirnáisiúnta as an gCuáit agus as an Malaeisia. Ag labhairt dó roimh an searmanas, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr James J. Browne, faoin méadú atá tagtha ar an taighde san Ollscoil rud a léiríonn an fás atá ar an líon mac léinn Ph.D. atá ag baint céime amach: "Tá a dhá oiread céimithe Ph.D. againn agus a bhí ag tús an chéid seo agus is tuar dóchais é an líon céimeanna taighde atáimid a bhronnadh inniu". Bhí cúpla focal le rá ag an Uachtarán leis na céimithe ag an searmanas a spreagadh: "Ná bíodh lagmhisneach oraibh faoi chúrsaí geilleagair. Tá an cumas ag gach duine dul i bhfeidhm ar an tsochaí ar shlí éigin. Níl teorainn leis na deiseanna atá agatsa an cineál saoil is mian leat a chruthú duit féin agus lántairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a thiocfaidh i do threo sna blianta amach romhainn." Beidh an chéad bhronnadh céimeanna eile ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh tráth a ndéanfar na Céimeanna Oinigh a bhronnadh. -Críoch-

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NUI Galway Hosts International Conference on Breast Cancer

NUI Galway Hosts International Conference on Breast Cancer-image

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

NUI Galway will hold the 2nd International Breast Cancer Conference on 18–19 June. The main theme of the conference is multidisciplinary breast cancer care, which will be of interest to all professionals involved in breast cancer management including Surgeons, Medical Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Radiologists, Pathologists and Breast Care Nurses. According to Professor Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery, NUI Galway and Conference Convener, "The management of breast cancer has changed so that we now treat patients in a multidisciplinary team based environment which raises many questions addressed at this conference including prolonged endocrine therapy, side effects of treatment, medico-legal issues and advances in areas such as surgery and radiotherapy. This is a great opportunity to promote discussion, debate and determine the current state of the art strategy to individualise treatment. The protagonists include all the major players in this country as well as leading international experts. Professor Kerin continued, "All of these issues will be discussed at the conference and we will also have an overview of changes in therapy from Roger Blamey and Joe Ragaz, two well established international experts. The University is proud to be associated with this meeting and is delighted that this prestigious international conference of this magnitude is bringing so much expertise to the city". Professor John Crown, Consultant Medical Oncologist at St Vincent's University Hospital and St Luke's Hospital, Dublin will deliver a keynote lecture entitled 'Future in Adjuvant Breast Cancer Treatment' on Thursday, 18 June at 5pm. Several of the speakers are well-known internationally and include: Professor Paul Goss, Director of Breast Cancer Research and Avon Foundation Senior Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Professor Joe Ragaz, from McGill University, Canada; and Professor Carsten Rose, from Lund University Hospital, Sweden. From the UK, speakers include: Professor Carlos Caldas, University of Cambridge; Professor Mike Dixon, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh; Professor John Robertson, Professor of Surgery at University of Nottingham; Professor Phil Drew, The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Hilary Dobson, West of Scotland Breast Screening Programme, Glasgow; and Dr Valerie Speirs, St James s University Hospital, Leeds, UK. National delegates and speakers feature a 'Who's Who' of Irish Breast Cancer Management including Professor John Crown, St Vincent's University Hospital; Dr Fidelma Flanagan, Mater Hospitals; Professor Tom Gorey, Mater Hospital, Dr John Kennedy, St James's Hospital; and Professor Paul Redmond, Cork University Hospital, Dr Janice Walshe, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, Tallaght and Mr Malcolm Kell, Mater Hospital Dublin. Local Galway contributors, apart from Professor Kerin, include Dr Maccon Keane, Professor Frank Sullivan, Mr Ray McLaughlin, Mr Karl Sweeney and Professor Grace Callagy. The conference is being held in conjunction with the Nottingham series of meetings which take place on alternate years. For 20 years, the Nottingham meeting has been the best attended and most influential breast cancer meting on these islands and the Galway meeting aims to ensure that these meetings are now annual events. The two-day conference takes place in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. For further information on the International Breast Cancer Conference, please contact Grace Clarke at 091-524390 or grace.clarke@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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Pat McCabe to Speak at NUI Galway Conference on Family Support

Pat McCabe to Speak at NUI Galway Conference on Family Support-image

Monday, 15 June 2009

Renowned novelist Pat McCabe will be a special guest on Friday, 19 June, at NUI Galway's Family Support Conference entitled 'Reflecting on Contemporary Challenges'. Reading excerpts, both humorous and sobering, from his books including The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto, the author will reflect on the complexities of childhood and family life. Pat McCabe's talk is the centrepiece of a wide-ranging programme of presentations and workshops on contemporary challenges during the two-day conference on family support from 18-19 June. The event is organised by the University's Child and Family Research Centre, which undertakes research, education and training in the area of child and family care and welfare. The Centre's Director, Professor Pat Dolan, is the Republic of Ireland's only UNESCO Chair, with a focus on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. According to Professor Dolan: "This conference is a timely opportunity for professionals, policy makers and researchers to reflect on the many issues raised by the recent Ryan and Monageer Reports and the Baby P case in the UK. Important discussions are needed about how to protect children while recognising that in most cases, the best way to do that is through supporting parents and through putting in place extensive preventative programmes, particularly in the early years". The conference will focus on the difference that communities can make to children and families, and how work with families can be key to community regeneration. Fr Aidan Troy, who served as a priest in Holy Cross, Belfast, during the school dispute in 2001 will deliver a talk entitled 'Walking the Walk in Adversity, Family Support and Personal Discovery'. -ends-

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