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For the last 11 years Prof McCarthy’s research team have focused on the development of non-viral delivery systems for nanomedicine applications. These biomimetic systems are designed to overcome the extra and intracellular barriers, so that the macromolecular payload can be delivered at the destination site in order to exert the optimal therapeutic effect. Helen has designed and patented three delivery systems. Current research projects involve gene therapy for metastatic deposits; miRNA therapeutics for oncology and wound healing applications; mRNA and DNA vaccination strategies; repurposing of bisphosphonates and regeneration of bone by increasing the bioavailability of ceramics. The wide-spread utility of these delivery systems has led to a spin-out company Phion Therapeutics www.phiontx.co.uk. To that end, she has published over 80 scientific publications, edited a book and has given many conference presentations. She has received research grant income from the National Science Foundation, Invest Northern Ireland, Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Campaign, Prostate Cancer UK, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, The Royal Society, BBSRC, MRC, EPSRC, Prostate Cancer Research Foundation and Action Cancer. She is also on the editorial board for Cancer Nanotechnology and the Journal of Material Science and is an external examiner at for the Junior Medicine Cycle and Pharmacy at RCSI.


Research Statement

Prof McCarthy's Research interests include:

Cancer Gene Therapy

Bio-inspired Delivery systems

DNA & mRNA Vaccines

Bone Regeneration


Macromolecular Delivery

Nitric Oxide

Transcriptional Targeting

Breast Cancer

Prostate Cancer


Current Funding:


Invest NI

Prostate Cancer UK

The Royal Society


Phion Therapeutics


Teaching Administration Associated with the MPharm Degree

2007 - Present Module Co-ordinator PMY3072 Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

2010 - Present Assistant Co-ordinator PMY4005 Project Module

2010 - Present Level 3 Year Co-ordinator


Teaching Contribution within the MPharm Degree

2006-Present PMY1003 Medicines from Concept to Clinic

2007-Present PMY3081 Drug Delivery

2007-Present PMY3072 Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

2007-Present PMY4005 Project Module

2015-Present PMY4107 Advanced Pharmaceutical Care


Teaching Contribution within the BSc Pharm Sci Degree

2015-Present PMY2021 Principles of Drug Action


Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Helen McCarthy is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Prostatic Neoplasms Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2009 2019

Research Output 1999 2019

Open Access
Blood-Brain Barrier
3 Citations (Scopus)

Design, Formulation, and Evaluation of Novel Dissolving Microarray Patches Containing Rilpivirine for Intravaginal Delivery

McCrudden, M., Larrañeta, E., Clark, A., Jarrahian, C., Rein-Weston, A., Creelman, B., Moyo, Y., Lachau-Durand, S., Niemeijer, N., Williams, P., McCarthy, H. O., Zehrung, D. & Donnelly, R. F., 06 Mar 2019, In : Advanced Healthcare Materials. 0, 0, p. 1801510 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Delivery of Health Care
Intramuscular Injections

DNA vaccination via RALA nanoparticles in a microneedle delivery system induces a potent immune response against the endogenous prostate cancer stem cell antigen

Cole, G., Ali, A. A., McErlean, E., Mulholland, E. J., Short, A., McCrudden, C. M., McCaffrey, J., Robson, T., Kett, V. L., Coulter, J. A., Dunne, N. J., Donnelly, R. F. & McCarthy, H. O., 09 Jul 2019, In : Acta Biomaterialia.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Neoplastic Stem Cells
Stem cells

Exploring the Potential of MicroRNA Let-7c as a Therapeutic for Prostate Cancer

Mulholland, E. J., Green, W. P., Buckley, N. E. & McCarthy, H. O., 22 Oct 2019, In : Molecular Therapy: Nucleic Acids. 18, p. 927-937 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Prostatic Neoplasms
2 Citations (Scopus)

FKBPL and its peptide derivatives inhibit endocrine therapy resistant cancer stem cells and breast cancer metastasis by downregulating DLL4 and Notch4

McClements, L., Annett, S., Yakkundi, A., O'Rourke, M., Valentine, A., Moustafa, N., Alqudah, A., Simões, B. M., Furlong, F., Short, A., McIntosh, S. A., McCarthy, H. O., Clarke, R. B. & Robson, T., 11 Apr 2019, In : BMC Cancer. 19, 351.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Neoplastic Stem Cells
Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasm Metastasis


All-Ireland Investor Readiness Seedcorn Awards 2017

Helen McCarthy (Recipient), 22 Nov 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Invent NI 2017

Helen McCarthy (Recipient), 06 Oct 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Activities 2001 2018


Helen McCarthy (Invited speaker)
28 Sep 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Helen McCarthy (Speaker)
06 Feb 2018

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

RNAi Therapeutics

Helen McCarthy (Speaker)
21 Feb 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

PG Recruitment Event

Helen McCarthy (Supervisor)
26 Feb 2018

Activity: Other activity typesHosting a school group or open day

Hunterhouse College

Helen McCarthy (Speaker)
12 Nov 2017

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

Press / Media

Prostate Cancer UK Innovation Award

Helen McCarthy


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Women Mean Business

Helen McCarthy


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Northern Ireland Tech Mission

Helen McCarthy


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

People of 2017 by Sync NI

Helen McCarthy


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Winner of All Ireland Seedcorn Awards 2017

Helen McCarthy


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities