Dr Aideen Ryan, NUI Galway, is congratulated by her children Jake and Katie after winning the award Research Paper of the Year at the Irish Cancer Society Research Awards 2019. Funds raised on Daffodil Day, proudly supported by Boots Ireland, go directly to vital cancer research, supports and services for patients. For more see cancer.ie/daffodilday. Photos by Andres Poveda Photography
Feb 25 2019 Posted: 16:18 GMT

Honours announced ahead of Daffodil Day, March 22

Congratulations to Galway scientist Dr Aideen Ryan who has been recognised for her work in cancer research at the 2019 Irish Cancer Society Research Awards.

The awards recognised some of the vital work being undertaken by researchers and support staff throughout the country, funded by the public donations to the Irish Cancer Society.

Aideen won the top prize of Research Paper of the Year at the ceremony. She is currently a lecturer in Tumour Immunology in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, having received funding from the Irish Cancer Society for research into bowel cancer in 2013.

A native of Kiltomer, Aideen has worked on finding new ways to treat bowel cancer through immunotherapy – treatments that boost the body's natural defences to fight cancer.

“Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in Ireland, so I feel privileged that my Irish Cancer Society funding has given me the chance to explore new ways to treat this disease and save lives,” she said.

“Through my Irish Cancer Society fellowship I wanted to give more hope to people going through the most advanced forms of bowel cancer by exploring better treatments.  Since then I’ve used this experience to progress my research and continue the fight to stop this disease.”

Aideen received the prize as an author of the scientific paper: ‘Stromal cell PD-L1 inhibits CD8+ T-cell antitumor immune responses and promotes colon cancer’, published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research.

The paper was written by a team of authors, led by PhD researcher Grace O’Malley of NUI Galway. Other Galway-based colleagues who contributed include Oliver Treacy, Kevin Lynch, Serika Naicker, Paul Lohan, Thomas Ritter, and Laurence Egan; and from Queens University Belfast: Philip Dunne.

Aideen was one of six people working in cancer research who described their work to a packed audience of family, friends and Irish Cancer Society supporters at the special awards ceremony held in Dublin’s House of Lords on Friday February 15.

At the ceremony the Irish Cancer Society also announced that, thanks to the public’s generosity, it is on track to invest €30 million in cancer research in the decade up to 2020.

Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society, said: “This decade has broken all records for cancer research in Ireland. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the Irish Cancer Society has invested more money in life-saving research than ever before, finding better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer.

“In 2019 we intend to invest €2.3 million in cancer research, supporting the work of over 100 researchers around the country. This makes us the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland, but we can still do even more.

“Every year we have to turn away researchers who come to us with potentially life-saving projects, simply because we don’t have enough funds to support them. Unfortunately, this means we may have had to turn down a potential breakthrough or cure. If we’re going to stop cancer this has to change. That’s why Daffodil Day 2019 needs to be the biggest one yet.”

Daffodil Day 2019, proudly supported by Boots Ireland, will take place on Friday, 22 March. Members of the public are urged to get involved by volunteering as fundraisers and donating what they can on the day. For more see cancer.ie/daffodilday.

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