Victoria gets first online cancer clinical trial link

Wednesday 18 November, 2009

Cancer Council Victoria today launched an Internet resource called The Victorian Cancer Trials Link, which enables cancer patients, family members, caregivers and health professionals to identify suitable clinical trials that match an individual's cancer diagnosis and treatment history.

The link was launched at a function in Melbourne as part of the annual Cancer Council Victoria President's Awards which recognises the work of outstanding Victorians to the cancer cause.

Director Cancer Council Victoria, Professor David Hill, AO said the database aimed to increase the number of patients enrolled in clinical trials, improve patient access to new and innovative cancer treatments via clinical trials and increase the number and type of active trials available to patients by aiding participant recruitment.

He said only 7% of Victorian cancer patients currently participated in trials and that this link would facilitate significant room for improvement by increasing clinical trials participation.

"I'm pleased to announce the launch the Victorian Cancer Trials Link because clinical trials take laboratory research and translate it into new treatments that save lives.

"For cancer patients, clinical trials also represent an opportunity to receive new treatments before they are widely available," he said.

Professor Hill said the Cancer Council had been a long-term supporter of clinical trials, having managed and promoted clinical trials for over 30 years.

"During this time, we have invested more than $11 million in grants to cancer treatment centres, enabling approximately 27,000 Victorian patients to enrol in cancer clinical trials.

"We know that many patients and their families who are hoping for cure or better quality of life use the Internet to actively seek out better treatments and now they can visit the Clinical Trials pages on the Cancer Council website to seek a trial suitable to them," he said.

As background, the development of the VCTL database was funded through 2 Victorian Cancer Agency clinical trials capacity building grants totalling $363,000. The first grant was awarded in 2008 to develop the database framework for breast cancer clinical trials and in 2009 another grant was awarded to extend the database to cover the remaining cancer tumour streams - central nervous system, colorectal, genitourinary, gynaecology, haematological, head and neck, lung, skin and upper gastrointestinal.

Cancer Council Victoria President, Mr Peter Griffin, AM this year announced two award recipients for the 2009 annual Presidents Award, an award selected by the Cancer Council Board, which recognises outstanding individuals for their ongoing and committed support.

He said the Board had decided this year that two outstanding Victorians who had excelled at fundraising should be selected for the award because both had done work which had benefited the community, impacted on the enhancement of the work of the Cancer Council and had impacted on cancer control in Victoria.

Mr Griffin announced that the award went to Mr Bruce Ward for his work with the Cancer Council's Relay for Life fundraising event and also to Beryl Fell for her work in fundraising for Daffodil.

"Both individuals have contributed greatly to the work of the Cancer Council Victoria and are a shinning example of the community spirit and commitment to others we see in our many volunteers," he said.

Mr Griffin also took time at the event to thank the many other supporters of the Cancer Council and said in 2008, fundraising and retail supporters were responsible for generating $29.8 million for the Cancer Council.

"This equates to 69% of our total operating budget for the year.

"It took almost 100,000 volunteers, committee members, event participants, donors and corporate supporters joining together to make this achievement possible.

"And I want to thank each of you for the role you have played," he said.