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$35.9 million boost for rare cancers, rare diseases and unmet medical needs

A media release about a $35.9 million Australian Government investment in 17 cutting-edge research projects, including projects to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, improve neonatal outcomes and to prevent bone loss in critically ill women.

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

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The Morrison Government will invest $35.9 million in 17 cutting-edge research projects including projects to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, improve neonatal outcomes and to prevent bone loss in critically ill women.

Melbourne University will receive almost $2.4 million to trial the use of Fibroblastic Activation Protein Inhibitors (FAPI) as a novel radiopharmaceutical to diagnosis and treatment of patients with Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP).

The FAPI-CUP trial seeks to address the unmet need for more effective diagnosis and treatment options for people with Cancer of Unknown Primary.

The trial will investigate the role of a protein called Fibroblast Activation Protein, together with a new type of PET scan that looks for whether or not cancer cells are expressing the protein, to determine the primary cancer in patients.

The University of Queensland will receive $3.4 million for a randomised trial to reduce the rate of fetal distress and improve neonatal outcomes through the use of sildenafil citrate in labour.

Lack of oxygen during labour is a major cause of stillbirth and neonatal deaths, brain injury and cerebral palsy. Many babies suffer these complications often without any warning or risk factors.

Sildenafil citrate given in labour raises the possibility of a simple, affordable treatment to improve neonatal outcomes.

Monash University will receive $1.9 million for its research work, which aims to test two commonly used anti-fracture medications in 450 women in the high-risk category of osteoporosis and fragility fractures.

Women over 50 years of age are more prone to fragility fractures after life-threatening critical illness.

This research has the potential to transform clinical practise in the prevention of bone loss.

This funding, through our Government’s $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), is part of a $614 million package for Clinical Trials research over ten years.

Our Government is driving an increase in clinical trial activity in Australia by supporting new, high quality research for Australians living with serious health conditions.

This funding is for breakthrough research to discover more options for the diagnosis, early detection and treatment of chronic disease.

Tragically, it is estimated more than 40,000 Australians are diagnosed with a rare or less common form of cancer each year, including bone cancer, mesothelioma, eye cancer and cancer of the nose and sinuses.

Rare diseases are life-threatening or chronically debilitating disorders or conditions uncommon in the general population, such as cancer of unknown origin.

These diseases typically exhibit a high level of symptom complexity leading to diagnostic delays and require frequent, ongoing multidisciplinary care and treatment.

Clinical trials are essential for evaluating the effectiveness and safety of medicines, devices, services and interventions to help prevent, detect or treat illness and disease.

The Morrison Government is providing this funding for clinical trials to drive new ideas and achieve new discoveries to improve quality of life and survival rates, and boost our nation’s strong reputation as a global leader in medical research.

Further information about the Medical Research Future Fund is available at


Project title


The University of Adelaide

Precision Medicine for Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia: Phase II Trial Studying the Efficacy of Lenzilumab or High Dose Ascorbate plus Azacitidine Based on Molecular Profiling Compared to Risk-matched Historical Cohort


The University of Notre Dame Australia

Optimism in IBM: A dbRCT Phase III trial of Sirolimus in patients with Inclusion Body Myositis, to slow or stabilise otherwise relentless disease progression, as measured by the IBM Functional Rating Scale (IBMFRS)


University of Melbourne

Evaluation of Fibroblastic Activation Protein Inhibitors (FAPI) as a novel radiopharmaceutical targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Cancer of Unknown Primary: the FAPI-CUP trial


Monash University

Australasian Resuscitation In Sepsis Evaluation: Fluid or Vasopressors in Emergency Department Sepsis (ARISE:Fluids) Trial


University of Sydney

Optimising Q fever vaccination in Australia: Protecting our rural adolescents


The University of Queensland

Implementation of Metformin theraPy to Ease DEcline of kidney function in PKD - the IMPEDE-PKD trial


Monash University

Bone Loss Prevention with Zoledronic Acid or Denosumab in Critically Ill Women – A Randomised Controlled Trial (Bone Zone)


The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research

PRoCESS: Pancreatic cancer Relatives Counselling and Education Support Service trial. Assessing the effect of nurse-led counselling, compared with information alone, on participant-reported outcomes and use of medical services


University of New South Wales

AZA+: A multi-site phase 1/2 dose escalation/expansion trial combining azacitidine and defactinib for high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients who fail to respond to azacitidine alone


University of Sydney

Structured exercise program to reduce fatigue in patients receiving dialysis: a preference-stratified adaptive trial (M-FIT)


The University of Queensland

The TELO-SCOPE study: Attenuating Telomere Attrition with Danazol. Is there Scope to Dramatically Improve Health Outcomes for Adults and Children with Pulmonary Fibrosis $1,828,446
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Clinical efficacy of ultrashort (1 dose) intravenous antibiotics compared to traditional duration (3 days) for children with complicated urinary tract infections: a multicentre randomised controlled trial $1,643,670
The University of Queensland Can intrapartum SildEnafil safely Avert the Risks of Contraction-induced Hypoxia in labour? iSEARCH – a pragmatic Phase 3 Randomised Controlled Trial $3,418,152.00
University of Melbourne A multi-centre randomised controlled trial of polysomnographic titration of non-invasive ventilation in motor neurone disease $3,480,676.55
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Does cannabidiol reduce severe behavioural problems in youth with intellectual disability? A randomised placebo-controlled trial. $883,484.50
The University of Queensland Targeting the gut microbiome as a treatment for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis: The Queensland Clinical Network Study $1,631,020.00
The University of Queensland Ataxia-telangiectasia: treating mitochondrial dysfunction with a novel form of anaplerosis $2,459,666.00

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