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New clinical trial announced for cancer patients in Albury/Wodonga

Tuesday 28 March, 2017

Patient access to Victorian cancer clinical trials will be improved for local residents around Albury/Wodonga thanks to a grant announced by Cancer Council Victoria today, Tuesday 28 March. 

Cancer Council CEO Todd Harper will make the announcement at Border Medical Oncology Research Unit today with medical oncologist Dr Craig Underhill. The funded project is aiming to connect the entire Victorian regional cancer community by streamlining clinical trial processes and improving regional patient's access to high quality cancer clinical trials.

The grant is one of four projects totalling $2.5 million that Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Cancer Agency will fund over three years at sites around Victoria.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said the aim is for as many people as possible to have access to a clinical trial.

"Trials are a valid treatment option and are a component of a gold standard health care system. In fact, standard treatments that extend and improve the lives of countless patients today are the result of clinical trials of the past."

Mr Harper said all of the initiatives have extensive collaboration with other health services, improving the opportunity for both regional and metropolitan patients to participate in trials.

"Cancer Council Victoria is delighted to be investing in clinical trials for both metropolitan and regional patients as part of our commitment to extend opportunities to potentially lifesaving cancer treatments to all Victorians."

Dr Underhill said: "This is an exciting initiative that will increase access to clinical trials for regional cancer patients. It builds on government's investment in the regional cancer centres and will take cancer centres in regional Victoria to a new level."

Mr Harper said the participation rate of adults in cancer clinical trials is low worldwide, with more education and improved access needed.

"In Victoria only about 6% of adult cancer patients take part in clinical trials, and the rate is lower among minority groups.

"However, the participation rate is much higher for children - over 50% - and we have seen the results in increased survival. This has led to a great improvement in children's survival rates because children have been able to access promising treatments, and the evidence for their effectiveness has been obtained quickly," Mr Harper said.

Mr Harper said the Cancer Trials Management Scheme grants were made possible thanks to generous donations to Cancer Council Victoria, and thanked the Victorian State Government for their support of the program.

Cancer Council Victoria's Cancer Trials Management Scheme commenced in 1988 and has given out almost $20 million in that time mostly from donor dollars to support clinical trials in Victoria.

Each year, over 31,600 Victorians are diagnosed with cancer, and almost 11,000 die from the disease.

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