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Currently, 1 in 3 people in Europe and the US will develop cancer at some point during their lifetime; this rate is expected to increase over the coming years due to the aging of the population in the developed world. In Ireland, over 21,000 people develop cancer each year, with approximately 7,800 dying from the disease over the same time period. Whilst management of cancer patients has improved significantly over the past decade, the availability of reliable indicators of prognosis and therapeutic response is a key outstanding issue.

Biomarkers can be defined as characteristics that can be objectively measured and evaluated as indicators of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention. Better biomarkers are urgently needed to monitor therapeutic response in patients undergoing anti-cancer therapy. The primary R&D focus for Oncomark will be on the development of cancer biomarkers capable of addressing unmet clinical needs and being commercialised.