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Victorian clinical trials receive $2.5 million boost to improve patient access

Wednesday 29 March, 2017

Patient access to Victorian cancer clinical trials will be improved thanks to $2.5 million in grants announced by Cancer Council Victoria today.

Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Cancer Agency will fund four projects over three years at sites around Victoria to improve patient access to clinical trials.

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."

The grants announced today will support initiatives to be run at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (medical oncology and radiation oncology), Border Medical Oncology Research Unit and Western Health.

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."

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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