15/02/2019
In a press release issued early this morning, the Liberal National Government announced it will provide $38.6 million to support 23 new clinical trials to improve treatments and discover cures for debilitating and deadly rare cancers and rare diseases.

The Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Clinical Trials program is a competitive program that focuses on clinical trials that address areas of health burden and unmet need including brain cancer.

The program includes two childhood cancer specific clinical trials. One that will test the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments for children and adolescents with medulloblastoma brain tumours, and another trial to use a new combined chemotherapy treatment to target brain tumours in children.

A further two brain cancer specific trials will be conducted, with one to evaluate the effectiveness of different chemotherapy treatments for the aggressive and highly fatal glioblastoma brain cancer, while the other trial is to use precision medicine in treating relapsed high-grade glioma.
 
This funding, through the Government’s landmark Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), aims to enhance clinical trial activity, treatments, cures, and extend and improve quality of life for Australians living with devastating conditions.
 
The funding announced today includes:

  • $10.8 million for rare cancer clinical trials
  • $18.3 million for rare diseases clinical trials
  • $6.6 million for unmet needs clinical trials
  • $4.5 million for brain cancer clinical trials through our Government’s Australian Brain Cancer Mission that The Kids’ Cancer Project is also a collaborating partner
 
Read more: Collaboration key to cure.

Scientific research has enabled increased survival rates for cancers such as breast and bowel cancer. However, survival rates for rare cancers such as brain cancer and lymphoma have remained relatively unchanged for some time around the world.

The announcement comes at the same time new data was released by the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry.

Cancer Council Queensland Chief Chris McMillan was reported in News Corp Australia press as stating the findings reinforced the need for more research to help reduce the burden of the disease on children.

“The incidence rate of childhood cancer rose by 34 per cent in the 33 years between 1983 and 2015,” Ms McMillan said when interviewed by Jackie Sinnerton.

Ms McMillan told News Corp that while cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children over the age of one, survival rates are significantly improving.

“Five-year relative survival for childhood cancer has continued to improve over the past three decades in Australia, with large improvements observed for children with several types of cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“However, there is still work to be done, with little or no improvement in survival for children with some types of brain cancers or liver cancer.”
 
Clinical trial programs like these will bring hope and save lives.
 
The total $4.5 million funding of the four brain cancer clinical trials that will address brain cancer in both adults and children, is made up of Government and private funding.
 
This is the third round of grants announced the under Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Clinical Trials program taking the total funding announced  under this program to $75 million.
 
The Federal Government stated that it’s hope and belief is that these brain cancer trials will take Australia closer to leading the world in doubling survival rates for those with brain cancer over the next decade.
 
These brain cancer trials are on top of the $10 million already invested under the Australian Brain Cancer Mission to support the Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative and key brain cancer clinical trials groups for adults and children.
 
This latest funding builds on more than $36 million already announced under the Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs Clinical Trial program, which was launched in January 2018.
 
The $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund was established as an endowment fund to provide a sustainable source of funding for vital medical research.
 
It is the single largest boost in health and medical research funding in Australia’s history. 

 
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