Sep 26 2016 Posted: 00:00 IST

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation launches CÚRAM Centre for Medical Device Research at NUI Galway

  • NUI Galway establishes CÚRAM as a global hub of research expertise in medical device technology to strengthen the Irish medtech industry which employs 29,000 people.
  • CÚRAM Centre for Medical Device Research officially launched at NUI Galway by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
  • CÚRAM already exceeding targets with €19 million secured from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
  • CÚRAM’s research will advance medical devices to mimic the body’s biology, targeting chronic diseases including diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease.

“In the long-term we may have minimally invasive injections instead of operations for back pain, electrodes which degrade within the body over time, or 3D printed muscles and tendons”
Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM

Ireland’s positon as one of the top medtech clusters in the world will be bolstered today (Monday) with the official launch of CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices. CÚRAM is a Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre based at NUI Galway, which is a unique symbiotic relationship of academia and industry partners that pushes the scientific frontiers in medical devices.

CÚRAM represents investment of €49 million over six years from Science Foundation Ireland and industry.  In just over 18 months, this support has already been used to leverage a further €19 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, over €4.3 million of which has been awarded directly to indigenous Irish industry.

Some of the 24 indigenous Irish and multi-national companies partnering with CÚRAM include Aerogen, Arch Therapeutics, Aquila Bioscience, Boston Scientific, Collagen Solutions, Cook Medical, Medical Energetics, Medtronic, Mylan, Neograft, Neosurgical, Neuravi, Ocean Harvest Technology, Spraybase, Stem Cell Technologies, Stryker Instruments and Viscus Biologics.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., who will officially launch CÚRAM today, stated: “The medtech sector is hugely important to the Irish economy with over 400 companies based here, it accounts for over 29,000 jobs and is responsible for €12.6 billion worth of exports. I am delighted to launch CÚRAM a world class research centre which will be very significant for our society and our economy. CÚRAM will also play a key role in ensuring that world class skills will be available to companies in Ireland as it is here to futureproof the medtech industry by providing access to unparalleled scientific expertise and innovation.”

Global demographic shifts mean we are living longer, but with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and heart disease. The research approach at CÚRAM is collaborative, multidisciplinary and informed from all perspectives so that it translates from basic research to clinical application as efficiently and quickly as possible. 

Professor Abhay Pandit is Scientific Director of CÚRAM, which is based at NUI Galway, and heads up the 280-strong team: “Chronic diseases are the particular focus of CÚRAM’s research.  Working with industry partners and clinicians, we will better understand the ‘hostile environment’ of the body and advance medical devices to the next stage where they mimic the body’s biology. We want to launch devices which are more effective for the individual patient, but more affordable to lessen the burden on healthcare systems worldwide.”

CÚRAM brings together strands of biomedical science which have come of age over the last decade including glycoscience, biomaterials science, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, drug delivery and medical device design. 

“Bringing together expertise from various fields leads to tantalising possibilities,” continued Professor Pandit. “In the long-term we may have minimally invasive injections instead of operations for back pain, electrodes which degrade within the body over time, or 3D printed muscles and tendons. This will not happen overnight, but the unparalleled combination of scientific, industry and clinical and regulatory expertise which CÚRAM facilitates will get us there in the coming years.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Ireland has a strong track record in all of the disciplines and industries that have been brought together in the CÚRAM Centre. CÚRAM has been at least fifteen years in the making and Science Foundation Ireland has been there supporting the research from day one. The Centre acts as a multi-disciplinary platform to discover new insights, develop new medical devices, and translate these research findings into clinical and commercial reality by a combination of commercial licensing and spinout company formulation. Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support CÚRAM - a world-class research centre that has the potential to have a significant impact on both healthcare globally and the Irish economy locally.”

CÚRAM has six academic partners including UCD, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, University College Cork, The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and NUI Galway where it is based. CÚRAM has over 250 researchers engaged in current projects both in collaboration with industry and on blue-sky research.

“CÚRAM is already attracting new research talent into Ireland,” said Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President. “A key part of its operation is to train the next generation of scientists, employees and entrepreneurs in this sector. The calibre of our graduates in this field is extremely high, and they are inspired by the exciting potential of the sector. One example of CÚRAM’s direct co-operation with industry is through MedTrain, a new industry–academic fellowship programme which will see 31 researchers enrol with CÚRAM’s Investigators as fellows in the next four years with support from EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.”

The establishment of a national research centre like CÚRAM brings a huge advantage to the Irish medtech sector”, said Helen Ryan, Chair of the Governing Board of CÚRAM and former CEO of Creganna Medical, Ireland’s largest indigenous medical device company. “Partnering with CÚRAM provides co-funding opportunities for research and development with access to world class scientists in a multi-disciplinary environment. Working with CÚRAM can help de-risks the R&D process and ensure that R&D becomes a much stronger part of the ecosystem for start-up businesses and SMEs. CÚRAM’s entrance into the Irish medtech space will give companies here a competitive edge and adds a huge amount of value to an Irish location for multinational medtech companies looking to invest in Ireland in the future.”

Maoiniú €68 milliún do CHÚRAM chun mol domhanda a bhunú de shaineolas taighde i bhfeistí leighis

 Seolann an tAire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta Ionad CÚRAM d'Fheistí Leighis in OÉ Gaillimh

  • Mol domhanda de shaineolas taighde i bhfeistí leighis bunaithe ag OÉ Gaillimh le CÚRAM chun tionscal na teicneolaíochta leighis a fhostaíonn 29,000 duine in Éirinn a fhorbairt.
  • Ionad CÚRAM d'Fheistí Leighis seolta go hoifigiúil in OÉ Gaillimh ag an Aire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta.
  • Spriocanna á sárú cheana féin ag CÚRAM le maoiniú €19 milliún ó chlár Fís 2020 an AE.
  • Beidh taighde CÚRAM ceannródaíoch i bhforbairt feistí leighis ionas go mbeidh siad in ann aithris a dhéanamh ar bhitheolaíocht an choirp chun déileáil le galair ainsealacha cosúil le diaibéiteas, galar Parkinson agus galar croí.

“San fhadtréimhse, d'fhéadfadh instealltaí a bheith againn seachas obráidí do phian droma, leictreoidí a leánn sa chorp in imeacht ama nó matáin agus teannáin clóite i 3D” An tOllamh Abhay Pandit, Stiúrthóir Eolaíoch CÚRAM

Cuirfear le seasamh na hÉireann mar cheann de na braislí teicneolaíochta leighis is fearr ar domhan inniu (Dé Luain) le seoladh oifigiúil CÚRAM, an tIonad Taighde d'Fheistí Leighis. Is Ionad Taighde de chuid Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann é CÚRAM atá lonnaithe in OÉ Gaillimh, atá ina chaidreamh uathúil siombóiseach idir lucht acadúil agus comhpháirtithe tionsclaíochta a thugann dúshlán na dteorainneacha eolaíocha i bhfeistí leighis.

Is ionann CÚRAM agus infheisíocht €49 milliún in imeacht sé bliana ó Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann agus an tionscal.  Le 18 mí anuas, úsáideadh an tacaíocht seo chun maoiniú breise €19 milliún a fháil ó chlár Fís 2020 an AE, agus tá €4.3 milliún de sin tugtha díreach do thionscal na hÉireann.

I measc na 24 cuideachta bhaile agus ilnáisiúnta atá i gcomhpháirt le CÚRAM tá Aerogen, Arch Therapeutics, Aquila Bioscience, Boston Scientific, Collagen Solutions, Cook Medical, Medical Energetics, Medtronic, Mylan, Neograft, Neosurgical, Neuravi, Ocean Harvest Technology, Spraybase, Stem Cell Technologies, Stryker Instruments agus Viscus Biologics.

Sheol an tAire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta Ionad CÚRAM go hoifigiúil, ag rá: “Tá earnáil na teicneolaíochta leighis an-tábhachtach do gheilleagar na hÉireann. Tá breis is 400 cuideachta lonnaithe anseo agus 29,000 duine fostaithe san earnáil atá freagrach as luach €12.6 billiún d'easpórtálacha. Tá an-áthas orm an t-ionad taighde den scoth CÚRAM a sheoladh mar go mbeidh sé an-tábhachtach dár sochaí agus dár ngeilleagar.  Beidh CÚRAM thar a bheith tábhachtach chun a chinntiú go mbeidh scileanna den scoth ar fáil do chuideachtaí in Éirinn ionas go mbeidh nuálaíochta agus saineolas eolaíoch ar fáil d'earnáil na teicneolaíochta leighis amach anseo.”

Tá daoine ag maireachtáil níos faide sa lá atá inniu ann ach tá tinnis ainsealacha cosúil le diaibéiteas, galar Parkinson agus galar croí ar dhaoine. Tá an cur chuige taighde in CÚRAM comhoibritheach, ildisciplíneach agus eolach ar gach peirspictíocht ionas gur féidir é a úsáid i dtaighde bunúsach agus go cliniciúil chomh héifeachtach agus chomh sciobtha agus is féidir. 

Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Abhay Pandit atá ina Stiúrthóir Eolaíoch ar CÚRAM, atá lonnaithe in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá taighde CÚRAM dírithe ar ghalair ainsealacha den chuid is mó.  Trí bheith ag obair le comhpháirtithe tionscail agus le cliniceoirí beidh tuiscint níos fearr againn ar 'thimpeallacht mhí-oiriúnach an choirp’ agus feistí leighis a fhorbairt le go mbeidh siad in ann aithris a dhéanamh an bhitheolaíocht an choirp. Ba mhaith linn feistí a fhorbairt a bheas níos éifeachtaí don othar ach a bheas níos saoire chomh maith ar chórais sláinte an domhain.”

Tugann CÚRAM gnéithe den eolaíocht bhithleighis atá tagtha chun cinn le deich mbliana anuas le chéile cosúil le gliceolaíocht , eolaíocht bhithábhar, leigheas athghiniúnach agus innealtóireacht fíocháin, seachadadh drugaí agus dearadh feistí leighis. 

“Tabharfar saineolas as réimsí éagsúla le chéile chun féidearthachtaí a mbeidh cuma na maitheasa orthu a fhorbairt,” a deir an tOllamh Pandit. “San fhadtréimhse, d'fhéadfadh instealltaí a bheith againn seachas obráidí do phian droma, leictreoidí a leánn sa chorp in imeacht ama nó matáin agus teannáin clóite i 3D. Ní tharlóidh sé seo thar oíche, ach idir saineolas eolaíochtúil, tionsclaíoch, cliniciúil agus rialaitheach le CÚRAM tarlóidh sé sna blianta seo romhainn.”

Dúirt an tOllamh Mark Ferguson, Ard-Stiúrthóir Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann agus Príomhchomhairleoir Eolaíochta Rialtas na hÉireann: “Tá cuntas maith teiste ar Éirinn sna disciplíní agus sna tionscail ar fad atá tugtha le chéile in Ionad CÚRAM. Tá CÚRAM ar an mbealach le cúig bliana déag anuas agus bhí Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann ann i gcaitheamh an achair ag tacú leis an taighde ón gcéad lá. Feidhmíonn an tIonad mar ardán ildisciplíneach chun léargas nua a fháil, feistí nua leighis a fhorbairt agus torthaí taighde a úsáid go cliniciúil agus sa tráchtáil trí cheadúnú tráchtála móide seach-chuideachtaí a bhunú. . Tá an-áthas ar Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann tacú le CÚRAM - ionad taighde den scoth a d'fhéadfadh an-tionchar a imirt ar chúram sláinte an domhain agus ar gheilleagar na hÉireann.”

Tá sé chomhpháirtí acadúil ag CÚRAM idir an Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath, Coláiste na Tríonóide, Ollscoil Luimnigh, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh, Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn agus Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, áit a bhfuil sé lonnaithe. Tá breis is 250 taighdeoir ag CÚRAM ag obair ar thionscadail reatha i gcomhar leis an tionscal agus ar bhuntaighde cruthaitheach.

“Tá CÚRAM ag mealladh tallann nua taighde go hÉirinn cheana féin,” a deir an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh. “Cuid mhór dá chuid oibre is ea an chéad ghlúin eile eolaithe, fostaithe agus fiontraithe a oiliúint san earnáil seo. Tá caighdeán an-ard céimithe againn sa réimse seo, agus tabharfaidh féidearthachtaí na hearnála seo ardú meanmna dóibh. Sampla amháin de chomhoibriú CÚRAM leis an tionscal is ea MedTrain, clár nua comhaltachta atá tionsclaíoch agus acadúil ina gcláróidh 31 taighdeoir le hImscrúdaitheoirí CÚRAM mar chomhaltaí ar feadh ceithre bliana le tacaíocht ó chlár Fís 2020 an AE.”

 “Is mór an buntáiste a thugann ionad náisiúnta taighde cosúil le CÚRAM d'earnáil na teicneolaíochta leighis in Éirinn”, a deir Helen Ryan, Cathaoirleach Bhord Rialaithe CÚRAM agus iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach Creganna Medical, an chuideachta feistí leighis is mó in Éirinn. “Cruthaíonn comhpháirtíocht le CÚRAM deiseanna cómhaoinithe taighde agus forbartha le rochtain ar eolaithe den scoth i dtimpeallacht ildisciplíneach. Ní bhainfidh na rioscaí céanna le próiseas an taighde agus na forbartha má oibríonn tú le CÚRAM agus cinntíonn sé go mbíonn Taighde agus Forbairt ina gcroíchuid do ghnólachtaí nuathionscanta agus do ghnóthais bheaga agus mheánmhéide. Le CÚRAM anois in earnáil na teicneolaíochta leighis in Éirinn beidh cuideachtaí anseo níos iomaíche agus beidh an tír níos mealltaí do chuideachtaí móra ilnáisiúnta san earnáil ar mian leo infheistiú sa tír amach anseo.

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