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Cancer the focus of new research funding

The Turnbull government is pouring $38 million into cancer research as part of a broader $200 million investment into medical projects.

More than $29 million is being set aside for mental health research and nearly $23 million will go towards studies into cardiovascular disease.

The National Health and Medical Research Council funding to be announced on Wednesday will also see $8 million invested in diabetes research projects and $5 million to look into obesity.

The money for cancer research will have a specific focus on childhood cancers with the highest death rates.

The announcement builds on the $5 million set aside in the May budget for CanTeen to find a cure for cancers that target children and young adults.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says eliminating cancer once and for all is the goal and the funding will enable the organisation to start new clinical trials, especially into brain, bone and blood cancers.

About 1100 young people aged 15-25 are diagnosed with cancer each year and about 150 will die from the disease.

“This initiative will bring the latest medical innovations within reach of young people with cancer,” he said.

“There is nothing more tragic than childhood cancer.”

The University of New South Wales’ Dr Jason Wong will use his funding to investigate mutations in DNA to understand how cancer is caused.

Other projects include:

  • The University of Sydney’s Professor Richard Scolyer will research ways to improve the outcomes of young patients with melanomas.
  • The Murdoch Research Children’s Institute will investigate therapies for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease and a greater understanding for how the condition is inherited.
  • Dr Ashleigh Lin from the University of Western Australia will look into prevention and early intervention strategies for young people with poor mental health.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says the government is supporting Australia’s world-leading researchers and scientists in their work to make the next major medical breakthrough.

“Their work is helping to make a better tomorrow for us all,” he said.

The announcements follow the decision earlier in the week to list a leukaemia and lymphoma drug Ibrutinib – also known as Imbruvica – on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

The medicine, which normally costs $187,390 per course of treatment, will be reduced to $38.80 per script or $6.30 for concessional patients in December.

Mr Turnbull and Mr Hunt also on Sunday announced an improved version of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil 9 will be given to all 12 and 13-year-old students from next year.

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One comment

  1. there is a back hole in brain cancers affecting young adults ranging in age between late twenties and forties. most of these young people are married or have partners. Theses young males or females have young families or females maybe pregnant. I have discussed with Dr Charlie Teo about these young people and non supportive care research and treatment available. unfortunately there is only surgery, radiation and chemo which does not always arrest the aggressive brain tumour. Basically theses young adults are given a death sentence . Just recently my son diagnosed with brain tumour in January 2012 lost his battle with this brain cancer after treatment. He was diagnosed at 37 years and lost his battle with brain cancer at age 43 years. He had a young family. After surgery x2 at Flinders Medical Centre Adelaide and surgery x2 by Dr Charlie Teo in Sydney, radiation and chemo the aggressive cancer could not be contained. More research needs to be done for this cancer on young adults and diagnosing these cancers early.I realise that symptoms are nor readily recognised and I now have a better understanding of symptoms and the nursing of a person with brain tumour which takes a lot of responsibility and care for the carer as the tumour progresses. Nursing of these patients needs better understanding as I have observed at first hand. Palliative Care was the most supportive i.e is Doctors and nurses for the brain tumour patients in Darwin NT.

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