With a goal of furthering the understanding of the causes of cancer and identifying new treatments through collaboration, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston and the Irish Cancer Society have formed the Boston-Ireland Prostate Cancer Collaboration. This new entity will conduct and facilitate exchanges of researchers and knowledge between Boston and Ireland.

The announcement was made on April 23rd during the Inaugural John Fitzpatrick Irish Prostate Cancer Conference taking place in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, in memory of Prof. John Fitzpatrick, former head of research at the Irish Cancer Society, marking his significant international contribution to prostate cancer research.

Researchers from Dana-Farber and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will collaborate with researchers from universities across Ireland, coordinated through the Irish Cancer Society, by participating in periodic teaching and knowledge exchanges with training fellowships and scientific retreats, ultimately resulting in jointly funded high impact projects and published research papers.

The partnership will create strategic relationships by harnessing the knowledge of cancer researchers in Ireland and Boston to enhance already established programs and initiatives in cancer biology, epidemiology and clinical practice. With a strong research infrastructure including an annotated tissue bank and database linking laboratory data, clinical trial findings and patient data outcomes, the initiative will utilize such technologies such as bioinformatics, micro RNA, gene mapping and other tools to support the work.

The first fellowship is named in honor of Dr. John Fitzpatrick. The selection process to identify a talented, young scientist or clinician to undertake this unique opportunity promises to be highly competitive. The successful recipient of the reward will initially spend a two-year research mentorship in the facilities provided by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The candidate will then bring his or her expertise back to Ireland and integrate emerging state-of-the-art research methods into Irish prostate cancer research practice.

“Together, we will develop a strong partnership in developing young investigators in Ireland and Boston and deepen scientific knowledge in cancer with the goal of applying new knowledge to cancer treatment,” said Philip Kantoff, M.D., chief of division of solid tumor oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“The Boston-Ireland Prostate Cancer Collaboration builds upon fruitful collaborations and research exchanges that have taken place over the past seven years across these institutions. Using multidisciplinary, international collaborations has allowed us to leverage the unique resources and human capital and accelerate research in a way that we could never do independently,” says Lorelei Mucci, Sc.D., associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and leader of cancer epidemiology at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

“The Irish Cancer Society is delighted to be involved in creating this exciting initiative,” said Robert O’Connor, PhD, head of research at the Irish Cancer Society. “The establishment of a trans-Atlantic partnership of this nature can only have positive outcomes for patients, as cancer researchers in Ireland and Boston work together to enhance existing programmes and initiatives in cancer research.”

O’Connor will lead the program.

Funding will be provided through grant awards and philanthropic activities and the first fellowship is co-funded by Sanofi-Ireland and Janssen-Ireland.