Research Bursary for Huntington’s Disease

The foundation has provided a bursary for research into Huntington’s disease (HD) to Dr Niall Pender, Principal Clinical Neuropsychologist at Beaumont Hospital. His research study, which is undertaken in conjunction with the Academic Unit of Neurology at Trinity College Dublin and the Huntington’s Disease Association of Ireland aims to identify and describe the thinking and behavioural changes that occur in this devastating disease. This research is timely and becoming more important given recent positive early findings of huntingtin-lowering drugs. (Huntingtin is the name of the abnormal protein responsible for the disease manifestations in HD).

Huntington’s disease is a rare, inherited neurodegenerative disease that results in patients suffering from a progressive dementia, uncontrollable movements and serious psychiatric difficulties. These symptoms have a destructive effect on their social, occupational and family life. Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for HD and no clinical trials available in Ireland. The research hopes to measure the progressive changes in thinking and behaviour in patients from an early stage and over time to identify these changes using sensitive and sophisticated cognitive tools.

The patients and healthy controls will be tested in Beaumont Hospital over a number of time points with the aim of developing a clear programme of research to quantify the neuro-cognitive and behavioural features of this devastating disease.

Research Bursary for Breast Cancer

A bursary has been provided by the Foundation to Breast Cancer Research and Professor Michael Kerin of the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, to support their research into breast cancer genetics and how treatments can be tailored to patients based on the make-up of their DNA.

Breast cancer is not one disease, but a complex group of diseases, each with a set of disordered genes that influence the risk of developing cancer, how the cancer progresses and how it responds to treatment. Using new gene sequencing technology, this research aims to design a new test that enables the detection of genetic mutations that contribute to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Once the mutations of interest have been identified, researchers will investigate the frequency of these mutations in a study group of approximately 1000 breast cancer patients and 1000 healthy volunteers from an Irish population. Financial support from Monkstown Hospital Foundation enables collection, storage and analysis of these samples. Funding goes towards lab consumables, experimental kits, upkeep of the DNA Biobank and supporting communication of the research via scientific presentations and publications.

Research Bursary for MND Drug Therapy

Monkstown Hospital Foundation are empowered by their trust to support clinical research and training facilities and services.

A bursary has been provided by the Foundation to Dr. Julie A. Kelly and Professor Orla Hardiman of the Academic Unit of Neurology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, for advancement of their exciting research in the development of drug therapy for motor neuron disease (MND, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)) and other neurodegenerative disorders.

In particular, funding is provided to broaden understanding of a novel thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) receptor in human brain. This was discovered by Dr. Kelly and represents a promising neurotherapeutic target in the human central nervous system for the development of much-needed drugs for neurodegenerative disorders, such as MND.