Dr Kyle Matchett will lead the research.
A Derry-based medical team has been given £415,000 to find new treatments for children suffering from cancer.
Dr Kyle Matchett, a lecturer in Molecular Immunology at the Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine, which is based at Altnagelvin Hospital, has been awarded a five-year Career Establishment Award from The Little Princess Trust for his research into childhood leukaemia.
The research aims to better understand how childhood leukaemia develops, including the role of a key altered gene, and to create more effective, kinder treatments.
Using advanced genetic approaches, the team hope to find evidence which may lead to new therapies.
This grant I has been described as testament to the pioneering research that Ulster University is leading into childhood cancer and childhood leukaemia.
As part of the grant, funds have also been allocated to develop a new NI Childhood Cancer Network, open to researchers, clinicians, charities and parent representatives to share knowledge and expertise.
Dr Matchett’s work is specifically focused on an aggressive childhood leukaemia called Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
Only six out of every 10 children diagnosed with AML will be expected to survive more than five years.
These poor outcomes are further complicated by the severe therapy-associated side effects that children often experience during current treatment regimes.
Dr Kyle Matchett said: “It is an honour to receive this prestigious Little Princess Trust Career Establishment Award.
“It is an opportunity for me to advance my research into childhood leukaemia and develop a better understanding of how the disease develops and hopefully create more effective treatments for children living with this aggressive disease.
“Thanks to the grant, our research team will be able to develop new partnerships with scientists and clinicians throughout the UK and Ireland and indeed in Europe and the US, learning new techniques and implementing them here in Northern Ireland.”
The grant will also fund a new PhD studentship and Research Fellow to support the team.
This award represents one of the largest grants that The Little Princess Trust have awarded to date.
It comes after several other awards for Kyle in recent years, including a Novartis Fellowship and Medal and the Early Career Research Excellence Award at Ulster University.
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