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Full NameProfessor Roisin Connolly
Cancer Research at UCC, College of Medicine and Health
University College Cork
- genetics, genomics and molecular biology
- clinical trials
Professor Roisin Connolly was appointed as the Professor Gerald O’Sullivan Chair in Cancer Research at University College Cork (UCC) and Cork University Hospital (CUH) in September 2019. Prior to same, Roisin was an Associate Professor of Oncology (Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program) and Co-Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC) at Johns Hopkins, US and continues to hold an adjunct position. Roisin is Director of Cancer Research @UCC and a Principal Investigator with Cancer Trials Cork at CUH. In 2020, she took on the role of Co-Chair of the Cancer Trials Ireland Breast Disease Specific Group and is Lead Applicant for the Health Research Board funded UCC Cancer Trials Cluster.
Professor Connolly is a medical oncologist and clinical investigator with expertise in the development of biomarkers of response to anti-cancer therapies, and the design and conduct of clinical trials that test investigational new drugs in the treatment of patients with both early- and late-stage cancers. She has led numerous multicenter clinical trials in collaboration with the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), and the Eastern Co-operative Oncology Group (ECOG)-ACRIN in the US
Clinical research under her mentorship will focus on identification and validation of predictive biomarkers of response to anti-cancer therapies, in particular in breast cancer. The TBCRC026 trial aimed to identify women with HER2-positive breast cancer who may be spared chemotherapy and its toxic side effects. The primary objective of this study identified early changes in standardized uptake value (SUV) on positron emission tomography (PET) as a predictor of pathological complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant pertuzumab and trastuzumab in women with primary operable HER2-positive breast cancer and updated results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2021. Ongoing analysis of the correlative endpoints from this study, as well as expanding to the minimal residual disease space in an Irish cohort in collaboration with Professor Leonie Young, RCSI is a current research focus.
In parallel, there are expanding opportunities in the area of Cancer Survivorship- “Living Well with and Beyond Cancer”. Prof Connolly and her collaborator Professor Josephine Hegarty (School of Nursing & Midwifery) recently received an Irish Cancer Society grant to support a Women’s Cancer Survivorship Clinic in Cork. Of particular interest to the team is the support of patients with advanced cancer, a current unmet need. The overall goal of this team is to improve outcomes for patients with cancer through innovative clinical and translational research, in collaboration with UCC, national and international researchers.