$3.2 million awarded to youth cancer clinical trials

July 25, 2018

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and youth cancer organisation CanTeen are today announcing $3.2 million in funding to four clinical trials that will give adolescent and young adult cancer patients access to cutting-edge treatment.

The Australian Young Cancer Patient Clinical Trials initiative, which has been made possible through the Medical Research Future Fund, has the ultimate aim of pursuing research breakthroughs that change lives.

CanTeen CEO, Peter Orchard, said that cancer is the leading cause of death from disease among adolescents and young adults, who have significantly poorer survival rates than children or older adults for cancer types that are common in their age group.

“This announcement brings participation in clinical trials much closer to those young people who truly need it,” he said.

“We know young people in the 15-25 age group are often caught between being too old for paediatric trials but still too young for adult trials and that taking part in early phase clinical trials it the fastest way to access cutting-edge cancer treatment.

“Young people also have significantly poorer survival rates than children or older adults for cancer types that are common in their age group – around half of the cancer types that affect young people still have 5-year survival rates below 77%.

“It’s a huge step forward for young Australian cancer patients, particularly those diagnosed with rare or deadly types of blood, bone and brain cancers.”

The $3.2 million has been awarded to four clinical trials:

  1. $522K to the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne to make an important international clinical trial available to young Australians with recurrent Ewing Sarcoma, which has extremely poor outcomes and no clear standard of care.
  2. $749K to the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG) in Melbourne for a clinical trial that will aim to improve survival as well as reduce side effects for young people by replacing some of the chemotherapy typically given during treatment with a novel therapy that uses a patient’s immune system to fight Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
  3. $965K to the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney (received by A/Prof David Ziegler at the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick) which will use a personalised treatment approach that targets a specific molecular characteristic commonly seen in young people with a type of brain cancer called medulloblastoma.
  4. $950K to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney in order to boost the participation rate of young people aged 15-25 in a clinical trial that will use state-of-the-art genetic profiling to improve survival rates for people with rare cancers. This is in addition to the recent announcement of $50 million in Federal Government funding.

Around 265 young cancer patients are expected to be recruited into these clinical trials, primarily through the hospital-based Youth Cancer Services, which receive federal funding through CanTeen as well as state and territory government funding.


ENDS

Media contacts:

On the ground: Suzanne Riley, Head of Marketing and Communications, CanTeen
0466 924 740 / suzanne.riley@canteen.org.au

Support: Ali Morgan, National Marketing and Communications Manager, CanTeen
0423 003 798 / ali.morgan@canteen.org.au