Over €10 million in government funding has been awarded to Galway companies partnering with NUIG research teams to develop groundbreaking medical technologies.
Three projects aimed at improving heart health and cancer treatments have been awarded a total of €10.3 million from the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.
Two of the projects are partnerships between NUIG and AuriGen Medical, a medtech company that is developing medical implants to help treat atrial fibrillation.
Atrial Fibrillation is a condition characterised by an irregular heartbeat, which causes palpitations, weakness, fatigue and dizziness, bur more dangerously, puts patients at five times the risk of stroke due to the formation of blood clots.
The first AuriGen project to receive backing under the DTF, taking place in partnership with NUIG’s Translational Medical Device Lab and led by Professors Martin O’Halloran, Adnan Elahi and Leo Quinlan.
The three year project aims to develop a novel implantable device to help treat atrial fibrillation and stroke.
The second AuriGen project supports the development of sensors for monitoring the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation with the Smart Sensors Laboratory at NUIG.
The third of these disruptive medical technologies is being developed by NUIG’s Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland and ONK Therapeutics Ltd.
They aim to develop an off-the-shelf, standardised cancer treatment that utilises modified Natural Killer cells.
Natural Killer cells are a type of white blood cells which target tumours, and ONK intends to modify them to improve their innate ability to detect and destroy cancer cells.
It’s hoped that the modification with Chimeric Antigen Receptors will enable them to be used in the treatment of a wide array of cancers.
The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund was established under Project Ireland 2040 and is run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland.
Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences at NUIG said collaboration between industry and academia is key for medical advancements.
“Funding, like the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, makes it possible for innovative academic teams to partner with local indigenous industry to develop essential medical innovations.”
“It provides the supportive environment for collaborative break-throughs. Galway has extraordinary talent and I look forward to the results of these complex projects.”