START Center for Cancer Care to Open New Locations in Lisbon and Dublin

First oncology early-phase clinical trials units in Portugal and Ireland to offer leading-edge cancer treatments


SAN ANTONIO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The START Center for Cancer Care, a San Antonio-based oncology early-phase clinical research site network, will open Portugal’s first facility in Lisbon in late 2022 and is slated to open Ireland’s first early-phase clinical research facility in Dublin in early 2023.

“The dedication to finding and developing the best cancer treatments drives each of us”

START Center’s respective agreements with the Hospital de Santa Maria – Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHLN) in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and University College Dublin in Ireland, will expand access to leading-edge cancer treatments for patients in the European Union. The two new locations were chosen due to the increased need for overall cancer care in the regions and the availability of qualified oncologists. For Lisbon, the principal investigator had previously trained at the START training program in START Madrid. START Center operates six existing locations across the U.S. and Spain, which makes it one of the largest early-phase clinical research sites in the world.

“The dedication to finding and developing the best cancer treatments drives each of us,” START Center President and Founder Lon S. Smith, M.D. said. “Access to early-phase research in the United States and Europe will only help accelerate the much-needed advancements in the treatment of cancer. Our research here and in Europe is the future of cancer care; it helps formulate the treatments that will be readily available 10 years down the road.”

The START Center’s early-phase clinical trials have resulted in dozens of new treatments used to fight cancer today. According to Professor Austin Duffy, M.D., consultant medical oncologist and START Dublin medical director, “Establishing a dedicated early-phase clinical trials unit will greatly impact our Irish patients. It will address an unmet need, and at the very least, it will increase treatment options for people with advanced cancer, providing them with early access to what are hopefully the cancer drugs of tomorrow.”

START Lisbon Medical Director Luis Antonio Marques da Costa, M.D., Ph.D. said, “Our facility is designed to treat patients who have exhausted all other known alternatives. Once our START Center opens its doors, the innovative medicines and treatments commonly available in the United States and elsewhere will be accessible to our Portuguese patients. This research is a life-changing endeavor for people around the world.”

André Mansinho, M.D., who trained in the START Center’s drug development fellowship program based in Madrid, Spain, will serve as the principal investigator and primary medical oncologist at START Lisbon.

About The START Center, LLC

The START Center for Cancer Care is a leading clinical research network with three sites in the United States – San Antonio, Texas, Grand Rapids, Mich. and Salt Lake City, Utah – and two in Madrid, Spain. Established in San Antonio in 2007 by President Lon S. Smith, M.D. and a group of cancer researchers, START Center has completed more than 1,050 early-phase trials and contributed to the FDA approval of 36 cancer drugs. For more information, visit

About the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital is a level 4 teaching hospital based in Dublin’s north inner city. The hospital was opened in 1861 by the Sisters of Mercy. In addition to the local services for our catchment area, the Mater Hospital provides a range of frontline and specialist services on a regional and national level.

About Hospital de Santa Maria – Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHLN)

Hospital de Santa Maria-Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHLN) is the largest university hospital in Portugal and it is part of the Lisbon Academic Medical Centre, including the Lisbon medical school (Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa) and a research Institute (lnstituto de Medicina Molecular – iMM), which promote the interaction between clinicians and scientists.