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Major new measures to help combat rare cancers

The Australian Government is supporting major new initiatives that will improve access to clinical trials, particularly for people with rare cancers including children.

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

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The Turnbull Government is supporting major new initiatives that will improve access to clinical trials, particularly for people with rare cancers including children.

AIM BRAIN is new genetic testing that aims to transform brain tumour classification, treatment and ultimately the survival of children with brain cancer.

I am delighted to announce that Australian kids will have access to this from 31 October 2017.

Through AIM BRAIN, Australian children will have access to international research collaborations of paediatric brain cancer led by the Australian New Zealand Children’s Haematology and Oncology Group.

We’re building technical and research capacity in Australia to undertake molecular diagnostic profiling of children with brain cancer to refine diagnosis of a tumour and tailor personal treatment.

This helps provide kids with better and targeted treatments for cancer, and helps avoid unnecessary treatments that won’t work for a particular patient.

Cancer represents Australia’s largest burden of disease and is the leading cause of death from disease in Australian children.

Brain cancer disproportionally affects young people, killing more people under 25 years in Australia than any other cancer and the five year relative survival rate is low, at around 22 per cent.

The AIM BRAIN four-year study will be funded as part of $79 million for cancer research announced in the Budget and will also be co-funded by the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation.

Today we’re also announcing that funding of $13 million is now available for competitive research grants from the Medical Research Future Fund.

The new research grant program is designed to boost clinical trial and registry activity with priority given to under-researched health priorities, such as rare cancers and rare diseases.

Brain cancer research is critical to improving survival rates and outcomes for those kids and adults suffering from brain cancer, their carers, families and communities.

Clinical trials benefit patients, improve health outcomes and advance medical knowledge.

Our $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund is a clear demonstration of our commitment to supporting Australian researchers in their quest to make the next major medical breakthrough.

These two major announcements come ahead of a Brain Cancer Research Roundtable which I am hosting in Melbourne today.

I am looking forward to meeting with individuals and families impacted by brain cancer and their advocates, leading researchers and clinicians and potential funders.

This is an important discussion that will identify further research investment opportunities that can make an immediate and lasting impact on brain cancer survival rates.

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