The Mid Western Cancer Foundation is dedicated to the research and education of cancer patients in Ireland.
Research – Cancer Diagnostics
Professor Gupta, on behalf of the Mid-Western Cancer Centre, has established research links with the University of Limerick, in particular with the Stokes Institute, which is under the directorship of Professor Mark Davies.
The main collaboration centers on cancer diagnostics, specifically the molecular diagnosis of cancer, using microfluidics. The aim is three-fold:
- Accurate molecular diagnosis – treatment may be tailored to a particular cancer subtype
- High-throughput device – speedier diagnosis
- Low sample volume – less invasive investigations required to achieve this diagnosis
It is the policy of the Mid Western Cancer Foundation (MWCF) to support cancer research in the Mid-West. The MWCF does not provide funding in toto for a given project; rather it aims to provide funding support, i.e. additional funds which may be required for a given project.
Since, 2008, the MWCF, has provided such additional support funding for a PhD student at the Stokes Institute, University of Limerick, entitled “Development of a Microfluidic Cell Sorter”. Microfluidics is a term used to describe the transport and manipulation of particles (like cells), liquids and gases at sub-millimetre scales. PhD Researcher Stefano Chiavaroli, has worked on a cell dispensing, focusing and counting system for leukaemic cells. He is supervised by Dr. David Newport of the Stokes Institute and is co-supervised by Dr. Bernie Woulfe, Research & Information Officer, of the Mid-Western Cancer Centre. Funding from the MWCF has been used to purchase cell culture laboratory and workshop consumables, the purchase of a CMOS camera and optical components to facilitate laser delivery and imaging. In addition, it has allowed the student to travel to the first European Conference on Microfluidics held in Bologna, Italy in December 2008.
An acknowledgement of the financial support from the MWCF has been included in all publications arising from this research – most recently a paper has been accepted for publication in the leading journal “Biomicrofluidics”.
In 2010, the MWCF is supporting additional research being undertaken at the Stokes Institute, to perform non-invasive dynamic measurements of cancer cells subjected to different levels of stress. Shiju Joseph, a PhD researcher, will contrast the morphological (shape / deformation) change with unstressed cells. Shiju is supervised in his PhD project by Dr. David Newport and co-supervised by Prof. Maurice Whelan of the Institute for Health & Consumer Protection, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
The MWCF recognizes the importance of Continuing Professional Development and supports staff education by funding attendance at national and international conferences and/or courses.