Establishing the first regional Allied Health Oncology Clinical Trials Unit

Lead researcher

Catherine Williams

Catherine Williams

Institution
Barwon Health’s Adrian Costa Clinical Trials Centre

Years funded
2022 - 2024

What is the project?

The primary goal of this project is to establish the first regional allied health clinical trials unit, specialising in cancer supportive care and survivorship. This involves building capacity amongst skilled allied health professionals (e.g., physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, psychologists, dieticians, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and social workers) to develop, conduct and engage in clinical trials in cancer supportive care and survivorship.

This project will lead an environment in which Victorians in regional and rural communities can access innovative, allied health-led trials to improve their cancer experience and outcomes. 

"I have seen the positive impact that well-timed, specialised programs provided by Allied Health Professionals can have on people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. This funding will give us the opportunity to investigate our potential to not only support change in survival statistics, but also to empower people with cancer to seek out the best quality of life possible, wherever they are in their cancer experience."

What is the need?

This project aims to address unmet needs in two key areas - access to clinical trials in supportive care and survivorship for people living in regional and rural communities and allied health professionals (AHPs) clinical trial education, training and capacity building.

Whilst there is significant evidence to indicate that supportive care and survivorship programs lead to better health, care and quality of life outcomes for people affected by cancer, Victorians living in regional and rural areas have limited access to rigorous clinical trials in these areas.

As AHPs are one of the primary providers of clinical care for issues in supportive care and survivorship, creating a trials-ready workforce will significantly improve access to trials beyond the areas typically dominated by medical and pharmaceutical research. 

Project timeline

  • 2022
    Establishment of a Project Steering Committee and scoping of current AHP knowledge needs to develop a customised, multi-model clinical trials education and training package.
  • 2023
    Development of allied health teletrials capacity, commencement of at least one internal AHP-led clinical trial and involvement in at least one other clinical trial as a preferred research partner.
  • 2024
    Widespread dissemination of the allied health clinical trials training package and completion of smaller phase 1 trials, commencement of or involvement in phase 2/3 trials.

 

Victorian Cancer Agency

The Cancer Trials Management Scheme is funded by Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Government through the Victorian Cancer Agency.