The John Durkan Leukaemia Laboratories at the Trinity Centre for Health Sciences in St. James’s Hospital
The John Durkan Leukaemia Laboratories at the Trinity Centre for Health Sciences in St. James’s Hospital were officially opened by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern TD, in May 2003.
John Durkan, who rode 93 winners as a jockey, had plans to set up as a racehorse trainer but they were cut short when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. He died in 1998 at the age of 31.
The Laboratories, funded through contributions of €2.7m and €250,000 respectively from the John Durkan Leukaemia Trust Fund and the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust, provide state of the art facilities for the Academic Department of Haematology, Trinity College Dublin, to carry out crucial cutting edge research in the field of leukaemia and related diseases. The laboratories are housed in Trinity College’s Trinity Translational Medicine Institute research building, located in St. James’s Hospital.
The John Durkan Leukaemia Laboratories are led by Dr Tony McElligott, the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust Assistant Professor in Molecular Haematology, since 2016.
The Laboratories house the Trinity St James’s Blood Cancer biobank. This biobank is a collection of samples and health data donated by blood cancer patients for research studies. Our biobank is part of the Biobank Network in St James’s Hospital.
Research within the Laboratories focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of haematological malignancies and related disorders and the translation of this research into new diagnostics and new therapeutics. There are active research programs in: Clinical Research, Biomarker Research and Novel Drug Development.
Current research projects include studying the interaction of blood cancer cells with normal cells in the body. These interactions are a part of the ‘tumour microenvironment’ and are important in the progression of blood cancers and resistance to therapies. Understanding these interactions will help us develop new treatments.
Stem Cell Transplant Unit
We also work very closely with the CAR-T/ Stem Cell Transplant unit in James’s Hospital. Our Cellular Therapies Research Group is working to predict and improve outcomes for patients following stem cell transplant and CAR-T immunotherapy.
We work closely with Department of Haematology, Cancer Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory and Stem Cell Laboratories in St James’s Hospital and are a part of the Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute.