A re-elected Gutwein Liberal Government in Tasmania will provide $600,000 over three years to secure the future of the state’s only kids’ cancer clinical trials unit which has previously depended entirely on funding from donations.
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of non-traumatic deaths in Tasmanian children, and is a significant contributor to long-term health issues. It is well established that much of the improvements in survival rates and health outcomes for children with cancer over the last five decades is attributed to large scale national and international clinical trials.
Read more: New state-wide Children’s and Adolescent/Young Adult Cancer Clinical Trials Unit
The Children’s and Adolescent/Young Adult Cancer Clinical Trials Unit was established in 2017 through an intial funding pledge of $140,000 that has since, through the generosity of donors through The Kids’ Cancer Project, grown to more than $300,000 to ensure Tasmanian children with aggressive forms of cancer could locally access cutting edge innovative treatments by participating in large scale trials.
Prior to this, taking part in a clinical trial was incredibly challenging with the child receiving treatment needing to spend significant time interstate without the support of extended family who were back home in Tasmania.
Read more: Landmark funding for Tassie kids with cancer
The Government’s re-election promise will ensure continued local access to clinical trials by Tasmanian children with aggressive forms of cancer, it will also help provide certainty around the recruitment of staff and unlock an additional $300,000 commitment over the next three years from The Kids’ Cancer Project.
Since the unit commenced, Tasmanian children have been able to access new therapeutic options for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, brain cancers and refractory solid tumours by participating in clinical trials.
Over the next six months there are several new clinical trials set to open including a large-scale leukaemia trial which will enable access to the latest molecular diagnostics and therapeutic agents.
The Children’s and Adolescent/Young Adult Cancer Clinical Trials Unit is also continuing to work on enabling patients from the North and North West to better access trials by providing outreach services to the North West Regional Hospital and LGH.
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff is reported to have said, “A re-elected majority Liberal government will be the first Tasmanian government to commit funding for childhood cancer clinical trials. I’m pleased we can provide this much-needed certainty to these children and their families at a very uncertain time in their lives.”
Childhood cancer advocate and fundraiser Tim Blair said it was the “best money spent” in the election campaign after “thumping the table for three years” to give Tasmanian kids the best chance at life after a cancer diagnosis.
Tim started Tim Blair Run For Kids Foundation to raise and distribute funds to assist children who are in need and to encourage and facilitate kids to help other kids by participating in organised and safe events.
“I see what these families live through. It is not just the clinic trials which are important but the investment in research. These children deserve a right to really live a childhood and get to be old and cranky like everybody else,” Tim said.