$7M clinical trial funding set to save lives

Queensland cancer patients are set to benefit from greater access to world-leading treatments thanks to a five-year funding deal worth $7 million for independent clinical trials in Queensland hospitals.

The funding, to be jointly provided by Queensland Health and Cancer Council Queensland, is expected to increase participation in cancer clinical trials led by national and international research teams.

In 2015-16 the funding will enable more than 140 trials focused on more than 12 cancers including breast, skin, pancreatic, ovarian, prostate, lung, bowel, cervical and head and neck cancers.

It will also support clinical trials for childhood cancers.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, said cancer clinical trials were one of the most important means of developing new and better treatments for cancer.

“Clinical trials improve health outcomes, save costs on the health system, and ultimately save lives by increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatment,” Prof Dunn said.

“This funding commitment will ensure that eligible patients diagnosed with cancer in Queensland are offered the opportunity to participate in life-saving investigations.

“Clinical trials have an impact across the whole continuum of cancer care, including cancer prevention, screening, treatment, follow up and, most importantly, improved cancer survival.

“Oncologists and cancer clinicians in both private and public practice support patient participation in clinical trials, but many lack the funding to enrol their patients.

“The scheme will provide funding to hospitals and institutions for the specific purpose of appointing professional clinical trial data managers to administrate patient participation in trials.”

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said the project would help to broaden the state’s research base, which was a primary aim of the Palaszczuk Government.

He said the trials had the potential to significantly improve patients’ chances of survival and also help treatment protocols for future patients.

The Phase II and III clinical trials covered six treatment modes: radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy, immunotherapy and palliative care, and currently address more than 12 cancer types.

One aspect of the funding is that it will allow the employment of specially-trained data managers in research institutes and hospitals.

“Data managers are key to patient participation and the effective management of cancer clinical trials, coordinating patient eligibility assessments, completing case report forms, and verifying data,” Mr Dick said.

“Annual patient recruitment in independent clinical trials has increased from 87 patients in the year 2000 to more than 1850 patients now enrolled in co-operative clinical trials in Queensland.

“These trials give those diagnosed with cancer a chance to be involved in critical research to better the lives of the 27,000 new cancer patients diagnosed in Queensland each year.”

Mr Dick said the funding would be used to provide dedicated data managers in research institutes and hospitals and reviewed annually to ensure sustained improvement and growth in patient enrolment.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171