INTO members raise €35,000 for the Children’s Health Foundation

The INTO would like to sincerely thank all our members who purchased a ticket for our annual members’ draw in aid of the Children’s Health Foundation (CHF; formerly Children’s Medical and Research Foundation).

Your support for this great cause is very much appreciated, raising €35,000 for the CHF. We greatly appreciate the work of our staff representatives in promoting the draw among members.

Congratulations to our winners:

  • 1st Prize – €10,000: Majella Kehoe, Wexford
  • 2nd Prize – €3,000: Niamh Cooke, Limerick
  • 3rd Prize – €1,500: Mary Jones, Limerick
  • 4th Prize – €1,500: Aoife Kavanagh, Dublin
  • 5th Prize – €1,000: Noeleen O’Donnell, Kerry
  • 6th Prize – €1,000: Ann Marie Kelleher, Cork
  • 7th Prize – €500: Frances Hodgins, Louth
  • 8th Prize – €500: Eileen Hogan, Tipperary
  • 9th Prize – €500: Mary Hayes, Cork
  • 10th Prize – €500: Miriam Gilroy, Dublin

INTO President Joe McKeown said:

Thanks to all the staff representatives who promoted the draw and the teachers who supported it. The money raised for the Children’s Health Foundation, which supports wonderful work in Temple Street, Crumlin, Tallaght and Connolly hospitals, will ensure that research into Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) can continue. The support of our members will make a real difference to the lives of sick children and their families in Ireland. Well done to all involved.”

This draw was operated by INTO and adheres to General Data Protection Regulations, the personal data of members who purchased tickets will not be shared with third parties and will be deleted following the draw.

About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and the Research Project

Unfortunately, there is currently a limited understanding of the molecular events that contribute to vaso-occlusive crises (VOC) in SCD patients. In developing countries, half of children with SCD die before reaching five years of age and less than 10% actually survive to adulthood. Even in developed countries, SCD continues to be associated with significant paediatric morbidity.

SCD is so-named because abnormal haemoglobin – the protein that transports oxygen in the blood – causes red blood cells to become rigid, sticky and shaped like sickles. These atypical cells have a shorter life span and get stuck in blood vessels, slowing or blocking blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body. Pain crises are a clinical hallmark of the condition and can be excruciating, often requiring emergency department attendance. Serious complications include stroke and other organ damage, but treatment advances have improved life expectancy. As children with SCD are vulnerable to infections, Covid-19 presents an additional concern.

While there are a number of effective approaches to treating the impact of SCD, such as transfusions, continued research is crucial to find novel approaches that can enhance care of children with SCD by understanding how it develops in patients at a molecular level.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the role of the anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory protein C (PC) pathway in controlling SCD pathophysiology. It will determine whether PC pathway function is impaired in individuals with SCD in steady state, acute crises and in response to hydroxyurea (used to reduce the frequency of painful crises in patients). Furthermore, its aim is to investigate whether activated PC (APC) can mitigate many of the molecular events that contribute to SCD VOC. Ultimately, this study will assess the potential utility of APC and APC variants tailored to exhibit maximal therapeutic benefit for adjunctive treatment of SCD-associated vasculopathy.