Normally doing good by individuals doesn’t go quite as far as saving lives but that is exactly what will happen as a result of fundraising undertaken by nine-time champion Flat jockey Pat Smullen.

He recently presented a €100,000 cheque from Cancer Trials Ireland to doctors in St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin to fund a state-of-the-art next generation sequencing (NGS) machine.

This donation is a direct result of the money raised on Smullen’s behalf at last September’s Longines Irish Champions Weekend.  The main fundraiser was the Pat Smullen Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland at the Curragh.

Smullen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018.

“I’m delighted the generosity that people showed is having impacts like this, and I look forward to seeing more opportunities for people with pancreatic cancer open up very soon”, said Smullen.

“The sequencing machine enables users to define the genetic sequence of pancreatic cancer patients in Ireland,” added Professor Ray McDermott, Clinical Lead for Cancer Trials Ireland.

“ NGS machine will enhance the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer in the hospital, and it will also allow the team to participate in more pancreatic research and clinical trials for the benefit of pancreatic cancer patients.”

“The Irish National Cancer Strategy 10-year plan has called for the introduction of precision diagnostics and therapeutics into the frontline of cancer care,” said Dr Niall Swan, Consultant Histopathologist.

“Next generation sequencing (NGS) is the most important advance in terms of clinical cancer diagnostics today.”

“As St Vincent’s University Hospital is the national surgical centre for pancreatic cancer the laboratory will be able to specifically focus on new cancer therapies for these patients which will allow a broader understanding of the mutational profile of tumour samples to more precisely guide personalised treatment decisions.”

NGS testing on-site will enable us to give a detailed report to our oncologists and patients within one week, thereby speeding up the treatment decision process rather than outsourcing requests.”

The deciphering the genetic code of these tumours will allow the identification of clinically relevant genomic alterations, assist in guiding clinical decision making and help to enrol more of our Irish patients in international cancer clinical trials.”

Image Credit Peter Mooney