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Irish patients with the blood cancer ‘multiple myeloma’ are the first patients worldwide to take part in a new drug trial to develop more effective treatment for the cancer. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with this cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. This innovative Phase 1 clinical trial being led by researchers at NUI Galway will investigate for the first time, whether the addition of a new multiple myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients.

DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has recently been approved for treating relapsed patients. This new trial is the first study worldwide to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide and will determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) has already recruited the first six patients at University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital and the study will soon be extended to BCNI centres in Dublin, thereby giving multiple myeloma patients nationwide access to the trial.

BCNI is a €2.7 million cancer research and clinical trials initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland which brings together clinicians, scientists, and population health experts across Galway, Cork and Dublin with a shared interest in blood cancer research. This clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by BCNI. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals. It is the first cancer clinical trial sponsored by NUI Galway on behalf of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and patients on this trial will receive additional benefits, including state of the art monitoring and access to this new treatment free of charge.

Professor Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director, lead investigator and Consultant Haematologist at NUI Galway, said: “This new trial, a first for BCNI, is another step forward in developing new treatment options for patients living with multiple myeloma.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor added: “This latest clinical trial highlights the importance of investing in world class innovative and potentially life-changing Irish cancer research and we hope that the patients taking part will help identify even more improvements in care and outcomes for this disease.” The past two decades have seen major advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma with a doubling in survival over this period.

If you would like to refer a patient or have any queries about this trial please contact Amanda Bray, the National Research Coordinator for BCNI by email at amanda.bray@nuigalway.ie or contact BCNI@nuigalway.ie