Dr Aisling McMahon awarded Irish Research Council New Foundations Funding for collaborative project with Breakthrough Cancer Research

Dr Aisling McMahon
Friday, April 16, 2021 - 10:15

Dr Aisling McMahon has been awarded funding from the Irish Research Council (New Foundations) scheme for her project entitled ‘Patients’ Access to Advanced Cancer Therapies: Ethics and Equity of Access ’. This project is a collaborative research partnership with Breakthrough Cancer Research.

This project investigates the legal and ethical issues around delivering access to advanced cancer therapies, focusing on Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell Immunotherapy (CAR-T). CAR-T therapy involves isolating a patient’s T-cells, which are engineered to attack the patient’s cancer cells when placed back into the body. It offers immense potential for cancer-care, and where successful can lead to complete remission. However, CAR-T therapy can also pose risks of life-threatening side-effects in some cases, and careful choices around who might benefit from such therapies are needed. Furthermore, due to the costs of CAR-T therapy it is not currently accessible to all patients. This project examines the legal and ethical issues around the provision of and access to CAR-T therapies for patients.

Dr McMahon specialises in health law and patent law and is particularly interested in the relationship between these fields. Her recent work in the health law field includes an article in Medical Law Review with Prof TT Arvind on “Responsiveness and the Role of Rights in Medical Law: Lessons from Montgomery”; and an article with Prof Barbara Prainsack and Prof Alena Buyx entitled ‘Big Data Governance Needs More Collective Responsibility: The Role of Harm Mitigation in the Governance of Data Use in Medicine and Beyond’.