Irish Sarcoma Group

Inaugural Meeting Videos

Welcome and Introduction

Dr Charles GillhamShow BioHide Bio

Charles Gillham is a Consultant Radiation Oncologist in the St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, Dublin. He graduated from University College London Medical School in 1994 and started his training in clinical oncology in 1998. It was during this, at what has now become the London Sarcoma Unit, that he developed a special interest in sarcomas.

Now, as the Irish lead for Soft Tissue Sarcomas he has co-founded the Irish Sarcoma Group. He has instigated this meeting as the first step towards his vision of raising awareness and helping develop a service that parallels the best available internationally.

After attaining fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists and completing his training he moved to Dublin in 2004 to undertake an MD (PET and molecular response prediction in oesophageal cancer) at Trinity College. This was followed by a clinical fellowship at the University of Dresden, Germany.

Appointed a Consultant in October 2008 he works at St James’s (where he is the clinical lead) and St. Luke’s Hospital but provides radiation oncology input to the St Vincent’s Sarcoma Multidisciplinary Meeting.

He was appointed an Examiner for the Faculty of Radiology, RCSI in 2012, is the Internal Examiner for the School of Radiation Therapy, Trinity College and is a lecturer on the annual ESTRO Treatment Planning Course.

He is a member of the British Sarcoma Group (BSG) and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS).

Epidemiology: Ireland

Prof Linda Sharp Show BioHide Bio

Prof Linda Sharp leads the research programme at the National Cancer Registry and is Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at UCC and. Since joining the Registry in 2004, she has established a diverse research portfolio ranging from cancer prevention, through aetiology and treatment receipt, to clinical and patient-reported outcomes. She has a particular interest in maximising the use of routinely-collected data. To that end, she has led studies on: patterns in cancer incidence and survival; predictors of length of hospital stay after cancer surgery; the role of commonly prescribed medications in cancer outcomes; and economics of cancer. All of these studies used data collected routinely by the National Cancer Registry and other organisations in Ireland.


Dr Eric HeffernanShow BioHide Bio

Eric Heffernan is a musculoskeletal Radiologist with a special interest in soft tissue tumours, and practices at St Vincent’s University Hospital where he was appointed as a consultant in 2008.

He did his fellowship in musculoskeletal Radiology in Vancouver General Hospital, during which time he trained in the imaging work-up and biopsy of sarcoma patients, and was involved in weekly sarcoma MDT meetings at the British Columbia Cancer Agency.

Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics

Prof Adrienne M FlanaganShow BioHide Bio

Prof Adrienne Flanagan MB PhD FRCPath FMSci is Head of the Academic Department of Pathology at the UCL Cancer Institute where she is the lead molecular, and sarcoma pathologist at UCL Cancer Institute. Adrienne is the pathology lead for the London Sarcoma Service the clinical lead and honorary consultant histopathologist at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, and Honorary consultant at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford.

Her research programme focuses on identifying the genetic alterations involved in the development and progression of bone and soft tissue tumours, which she then translates into clinical practice, and uses for stratifying patients for treatment.

Adrienne is also Director of UCL Advanced Diagnostics which provides services to both clinicians for their diagnoses and researchers. The service complements the discovery phase of genomic / epigenomic research being undertaken in UCL and allow transition from discovery to diagnostics. Adrienne is also holds the UCL corporate Human Tissue Authority licence.


Mr Craig CerrandShow BioHide Bio

Craig Gerrand has been a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals since 2001, where he works within the North of England Bone and Soft Tissue Tumour Service. He chairs the Newcastle University Sarcoma Research Group. He is Vice Chair of the Clinical Reference Group for Sarcoma Commissioning and Trustee of the Bone Cancer Research Trust and British Sarcoma Group.


Mr Vincent YoungShow BioHide Bio

Mr Vincent Young is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon working in St. James’s Hospital Dublin. After graduating from Trinity College Dublin in 1986 he taught for a year in the department of Anatomy in Trinity College. He started his surgical training on the Dublin Region Surgical training scheme the following year, moving to London in 1991 to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery. He worked as Registrar and Senior Registrar in the Royal Brompton, London Chest and St. Bartholomew’s Hospitals before returning to Ireland to take up a consultant post in the newly opened cardiothoracic unit in St. James’s in 1999.

During his time training in the UK he spent 18 months working in the research department of the University of Cambridge under the direction of Sir Roy Calne. This work on transplanted transgenic pig hearts resulted in the award of a MD degree in 1996. In 1997 he was Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in England. During his time in London he worked for Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub and Professor Peter Goldstraw.

He has kept up his particular interest in thoracic oncology, first kindled while working for Professor Goldstraw, since returning to Dublin and St. James’s is the busiest thoracic oncology centre on the island of Ireland. He has a keen interest in chest wall surgery and reconstruction.

He has a keen interest in post-graduate education and has sat on the Specialty advisor committee (SAC) of the joint Royal Colleges of Surgeons in Great Britain as well as on the educational board of the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of the UK and Ireland. He is an experienced examiner in the Joint Royal Colleges exit exam for trainees finishing their training in the British Isles.


Prof John V. ReynoldsShow BioHide Bio

Professor Reynolds is Professor of Clinical Surgery at the St. James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin. He is the National Lead for oesophageal and gastric cancer. He is Cancer Lead at St. James’s Hospital and the Trinity School of Medicine, and a Principal Investigator in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute. He has formerly held Fellowship positions with the University of Pennsylvania and Wistar Institute in Philadelphia and at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. He was a Senior Lecturer at St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds (1994-6).

Professor Reynolds has set up a national database for patients who are histologically diagnosed with GIST (Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumours). This data will facilitate research into current treatment protocols and developing new ones in the future. The hospitals participating in this registry will include the eight cancer centres and Mercy Hospital Cork, Tallaght Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital. Professor Reynolds has obtained numerous research awards and has published widely in cancer research, with over 250 publications and approximately €5m research grant income. His clinical interest is in diseases of the oesophagus and stomach. His research interest is in four areas: (1) pathogenesis of Barrett’s oesophagus and progression; (2) prediction of response and resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy; (3) obesity, altered metabolism, and cancer; (4) malnutrition and peri-operative nutrition.


Dr Alessandro GronchiShow BioHide Bio

Alessandro Gronchi M.D. was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1968. He received his MD degree from Milan University (high honors) in 1992, and then completed his residency training in General Surgery at the San Raffaele General Hospital – Milan. During his residency he served for 2 years at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working full time at the Lacor University Hospital in Gulu – Uganda. He then completed his training with a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute – Milan – Italy in 1998. He joined the faculty in the Department of Surgery at National Cancer Institute, as attending surgeon in the Sarcoma Service, in 1999. He visited the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York in 2002. He has been chair of the Sarcoma Service at the National Cancer Institute – Milan – Italy since 2001.

Dr. Gronchi has a life-time professional dedication to patient care and research in soft tissue sarcoma and GIST.

His clinical practice focuses exclusively on these disease entities and he has pursued clinical and research interests in soft tissue sarcoma and GIST during the entire stint in the department of Surgery. He runs the Sarcoma data base of the National Cancer Institute, which gathers clinical and biological information on over 7500 patients affected by soft tissue sarcoma and GIST, treated over the past 3 decades in Milan. He is involved in all institutional research activities on sarcoma, which include tyrosine kinases activation in different sarcoma entities as possible targets for therapy, different telomere maintenance mechanisms in sarcoma subtypes, molecular characterization of desmoids tumors and mechanisms of resistance to therapy in GIST. He is the Principal Investigator of several Italian and International trial on Sarcoma and GIST.

He serves as chairman of the soft tissue sarcoma committee of the Italian Sarcoma Group (ISG), vice chair of the EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group, secretary of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS) and is a member of the Sarcoma Task Force of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO), and several other medical and scientific societies. Dr. Gronchi has authored more than 190 scientific publications, serves as Associate Editor of the Sarcoma Journal and as Sarcoma Section Editor of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Role of the Plastic Surgeon

Mr Eoin O’BroinShow BioHide Bio

Eoin O’Broin FRCSI (plast) M.D. is a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon working in Cork University Hospital. His areas of interest are Cleft lip and Palate, Breast and other soft tissue reconstruction and in particular sarcoma surgery.

He has trained in Ireland, London, Leeds and Adelaide, Australia. He was a consultant plastic surgeon in Leicester (UK) for 3 years before taking up his current post in Cork 9 years ago. He has been involved in sarcoma reconstruction in CUH where a team based approach works well.

His interest in sarcoma surgery started in the Leeds Sarcoma Unit where there is a well established sarcoma MDT with high cure and success rates. Reconstructive surgery was one of the integral elements of this service, allowing adequate excisions without tight closure of wounds. This lead to improved wound healing, early radiotherapy and better functional results.


Dr Beatrice SeddonShow BioHide Bio

Dr Beatrice Seddon is Consultant Clinical Oncologist on the Sarcoma Unit at University College Hospital, specialising exclusively soft tissue and bone sarcomas. She currently lectures and teaches on the management of sarcomas, and is actively involved in clinical research projects in this area. She is a member of the EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group and the NCRN Sarcoma Group. She has a special interest in gynaecological sarcomas, GIST, and radiotherapy for sarcomas

Chemotherapy in Advanced Disease

Prof Paolo G. CasaliShow BioHide Bio

Paolo G. Casali, MD, medical oncologist, is Head of the Adult Mesenchymal Tumour Medical Oncology Unit at Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy, where he also serves as Secretary of the Ethics Committee.

He is a member of the Executive Board of ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology), as Chair of the Public Policy Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of ECCO (European Cancer Organization).

His clinical and research activities focus on sarcomas, mainly adult soft tissue sarcomas and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). He is Secretary of the Italian Sarcoma Group and a member of the EORTC Soft Tissue & Bone Sarcoma Group. He is an Editor in Chief of Clinical Sarcoma Research, an open-access journal on sarcoma, and a member of the ESMO Sarcoma Faculty. In the area of rare cancers, he founded and chairs the Italian Rare Cancer Network, a collaborative effort among Italian cancer centers exploiting distant patient sharing to improve quality of care and diminish health migration. He coordinates Rare Cancers Europe, an ESMO-launched multistakeholder initiative to work out, promote and exchange new solutions to the many issues posed by rare cancers. He teaches at the Milan University Postgraduate School in Oncology and is (co)author of more than 170 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Adjuvant Chemotherapy

Dr Deidre O’MahonyShow BioHide Bio

After being awarded her primary degree in Medicine from University College Cork (UCC) in 1995, Dr O’Mahony pursued her career in Medical Oncology. She completed her Oncology training in Ireland while obtaining her Masters degree in Molecular Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin.

In the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD USA, in 2003 Dr O’Mahony focused on clinical research when she commenced the NCI Medical Oncology fellowship programme with a subspecialty interests in lymphoid malignancies, viral oncogenesis and sarcoma. She continued as the Clinical Investigator with the HIV and AIDS Malignacy Branch until 2008 when she returned to Ireland to a medical oncology consultant post in St James Hospital. It was here she joined forces with Dr Charles Gillham to establish sarcoma treatment pathways for medical and radiation oncology.

In 2012, she moved to Cork where she is consultant medical oncologist in Cork University Hospital and Kerry General Hospital. She is a member of the Cancer Centre South soft tissue multidisciplinary team and chairperson of the Sarcoma MDT. She is Senior Clinical Lecturer at UCC.

She is an active member of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Society of Hematology, Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS), and ICORG (the all-Ireland Co-operative Oncology Research Group).


Prof Stefan BielackShow BioHide Bio

Prof Stefan Bielack is a pediatric oncologist and head of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, Immunology; Gastroenterology, Rheumatology and General Pediatrics at Klinikum Stuttgart – Olgahospital, Stuttgart, Germany. His main scientific and clinical interest lies in the field of bone sarcoma, particularly osteosarcoma.

Stefan Bielack is chairman of the Cooperative German-Austrian-Swiss Osteosarcoma Study Group COSS, ECT project leader of the European and American Osteosarcoma Study EURAMOS1, and leader of the bone tumor work package of the European Network for Cancer Research in Children and Adolescents ENCCA.

He has served as President of the European Musculo-Skeletal Oncology Society EMSOS and board member of the German Society for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology GPOH and is currently a member of the board of the Southern German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine SGKJ. He is a current member of the editorial boards of Cancer Treatment Reviews and the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology.

Ewing’s Sarcoma

Prof Jeremy WhelanShow BioHide Bio

A consultant medical oncologist, Jeremy Whelan has worked exclusively in the field of sarcomas and young people’s cancer for nearly 20 years. He has developed and led a large, internationally renowned sarcoma service, championing multidisciplinary working and the delivery of specialist expertise focussed on improving individual patient experience and outcomes (

He has taken an active role in national cancer policy developments in his areas of expertise working with NICE, the Department of Health and specialist commissioning bodies. He is chair the National Cancer Research Institute Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Studies Group, the NHS England Sarcoma Clinical Reference Group and a member of the NCRI Sarcoma Clinical Studies Group. He leads research programmes in bone sarcomas ( ) and young peoples care ( )

Irish National Sarcoma Service

Dr Jerome CoffeyShow BioHide Bio

Dr Coffey MD FRCPI FRCR FFR RCSI is the interim Director of the National Cancer Control Programme. He is a Consultant Radiation Oncologist and prior to his recent appointment was the National Clinical Lead for Radiation Oncology. His higher training was at centres in North America and the UK and he specialises in the treatment of breast and prostate cancer.