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$10 million for six new clinical trials

The Australian Government is investing $10 million to fund six new rare cancer and rare disease clinical trials focused on turning the tide on low survival through testing new treatments.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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General public

11 September 2018

The Morrison Government is investing $10 million to fund six new rare cancer and rare disease clinical trials focused on turning the tide on low survival through testing new treatments.

This funding will support patients who are facing a terrible battle against some of the most deadly cancers and diseases.

The aim is to find new treatments and more support for those Australians diagnosed with a range of diseases with low survival rates and few effective treatments.

Put simply this funding is about saving and extending lives. It delivers hope for a longer and better life.

The six new clinical trials will target:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Rare skin tumours
  • Myeloma
  • Myelofibrosis
  • A pioneering treatment for high mortality cancers, such as glioblastoma.

Pancreatic cancer has a five year overall survival rate of eight per cent, which is unacceptably low.

Patients will be able to participate in a clinical trial testing an innovative treatment that uses advances in radiotherapy to safely increase low level radiation and kill more tumour cells.

Currently, severe traumatic brain injury) is fatal in around half of all cases. A clinical trial will test the effectiveness of innovative precision medicine neuro-intensive care to save the lives of more people who suffer a traumatic brain injury.

A highly aggressive and deadly rare skin cancer, merkel cell carcinoma, will be targeted to test the effectiveness of a new treatment combining radiotherapy and a new drug. The clinical trial aims to improve the five year survival rate from its current low of 18 per cent.

Survival rates for Australians with multiple myeloma drop to 27 per cent after 65 years of age. Researchers at Monash University will investigate the best treatment for the senior Australians battling this debilitating and incurable cancer.

Another trial will use low-cost genomic profiling to track the result of precision based medicine in sufferers of myelofibrosis, a rare incurable blood cancer. Genetic profiling is increasingly important to accurately map cancers and provide personalised, effective treatment.

Researchers at La Trobe University have pioneered the development of a new antibody drug that can target specific tumours. Patients with one of nine cancers, including glioblastoma, will participate in a trial led by Professor Hui Gan with sites in multiple Australian capital cities.

The six clinical trials will be conducted by researchers at Monash University, the University of Melbourne, University of Sydney and La Trobe University.

This funding is part of the Government’s commitment to health and medical research under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). This investment will empower researchers to find better treatments and improve the quality of life for Australians with rare cancers, diseases and devastating injury.

This funding is in addition to the 19 clinical trials announced in January 2018 under the Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Clinical Trials program. Applications for a further $33 million in funding are currently being assessed.

A total of $261 million over five years has been allocated from the MRFF to support clinical trials.

In the recent Budget Coalition Government announced a $248 million investment to support clinical trials for Australian patients with rare cancers and rare diseases, and unmet need clinical trials and registries program.

We also announced our commitment to deliver $6 billion in record funding for Australia’s health and medical research sector, including $3.5 billion for the National Health and Medical Research Council, $2 billion in disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund and $500 million from the Biomedical Translation Fund.

Further details of the six clinical trials will be available on the Health department website.


Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Somerville, Victoria.

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