In November 2018, the RIDT launched a call for proposals for cancer research projects. The funds were made available by the ALIVE Charity Foundation through a number of donations in the previous years. Twenty one applications were received by the closing date with the overall level of applications being extremely high. Six projects were eventually selected early in 2019 following a process of assessment by an external team of expert evaluators. Following this process, a total of €314,818 was disbursed between the selected projects.
The projects, which could have a maximum duration of 36 months from the date of award, received a maximum of €60,000 for the completion of the study. The evaluation process took into consideration the relevance of the work proposed and the scientific excellence of the projects. The call was open to any Resident Academic of the University of Malta with applications eligible to receiving only one grant under this specific call.
The main goal of the project is to support research that might in future help reduce the incidence of cancer, improve cancer survival and the quality of life of cancer patients. Grants were awarded to support fundamental or translational research into the causes, mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment or prevention of cancer.
The RIDT is particularly grateful for the support that it has been receiving from the ALIVE Charity Foundation who to date have contributed more than half a million euro for cancer research at the University of Malta.
The 6 projects that received funding are:
|The differentiation inducing effects of phenolic compounds from endemic Maltese extra virgin oils on chronic myeloid leukaemia||Marion Zammit Mangion||Faculty of Medicine||€27,618|
|Colorectal cancer risk factors and design of preventive strategy and early diagnosis||Godfrey Grech||Faculty of Medicine||€60,000|
|Combined thermal and visual imaging for early detection of skin cancer||Owen Falzon||Centre for Biomedical Cybernetics||€60,000|
|Effectiveness of a physical and psychosocial intervention on quality of life in adult cancer patients||Josianne Scerri||Faculty of Health Sciences||€47,200|
|Microwave hyperthermia for breast cancer||Charles Sammut||Faculty of Science||€60,000|
|Dexamethasone in glioblastoma multiform therapy||Mauro Pessia||Faculty of Medicine||€60,000|
Superhero with one Euro
The SuperHero with One Euro Campaign was launched in September with the aim to help children suffering from serious diseases in Malta by raising funds for medical research. The main areas of research attached to this campaign include meningitis, autism and cardiac disease.
Customers dining at restaurants Café Cuba and Vecchia Napoli were invited to donated 1 euro with their restaurant bill to support the campaign. The aim of the campaign is that collectively the funds can make a difference. Everyone has the ‘superpower’ to make a difference and become a child’s ‘superhero’ with their one Euro donation. In fact the first funds collected through the campaign have already been allocated to a small number of research projects.
Following a run of two months in the above mentioned restaurants, the campaign will be now moving to other outlets, particularly in e-commerce facilities.
October – Breast cancer awareness
Europa Donna Malta President, Gertrude Abela, presented €12,000 to RIDT’s CEO Wilfred Kenely during the October annual Hilda Schembri Memorial Lecture. This is the first part of a 3-year bursary being donated to the RIDT to finance a Postgraduate Scholarship in breast cancer research. Europa Donna Malta is a non-profit organisation that supports individuals and their families going through breast cancer. It works to raise awareness of breast cancer and to mobilise the support of European women in pressing for breast cancer education, appropriate screening, optimal treatment and funding for research.
The RIDT is committed towards raising funds to invest in research in all areas of study within the University of Malta and over the years a number of funds have already been allocated towards various projects including some related to breast cancer research.
A Splash of Pink is a collective art exhibition in aid of the RIDT was held at Gallery 23 in Balzan between the 19th of October and 1st of November. Over 40 artists donated one of their paintings towards this cause. Proceeds from the sale of the paintings were donated to the RIDT to be used for breast cancer research within the University of Malta. The paintings which ranged from landscapes, to nudes were characterized by the use of the colour pink. The initiative was one put forward by one of the participating artists, Michelle Gialanze in support of breast cancer research through the RIDT.
Mvintage, a renowned Maltese jewellery designer brand donated 50% sold from their Pink October Collection during the month of October towards breast cancer research through the RIDT. Mvintage expressed their wish with the RIDT to support women who make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. In their own words they refer to the scientists and doctors who are committed to researching early detection tools, methods of classification and possible cures and the women who wake up every day ready to fight their own battle with cancer – and win. Last but not least, the ones who are always there, ready to offer support and encouragement to loved ones going through the challenging process of therapy.
St Joseph School Sliema, Breast Cancer Awareness – Professor Godfrey Grech from the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Malta addressed staff at St Joseph Junior School Sliema about breast cancer research during the school’s breast cancer awareness day. Prof Grech spoke about the latest developments in breast cancer research currently being carried at the University of Malta. A discussion with the teachers attending the talk followed. On the day school raised funds for breast cancer research and donated a cheque to the RIDT for this cause.
RETROSPECTIVE a collection of paintings by artist Silvio Agius was put up during the month of October and November in aid of the RIDT. The artist who expressed his wish to support research through the University of Malta Research Trust Fund launched his solo exhibition in October at the Emm. Fiorentino Hall, Zabbar Sanctuary Museum in Zabbar. Proceeds from the sale of the paintings were presented to the RIDT.