New hope for Perth patients with rare cancers

Stock image.
Stock image.

WA cancer patients with the most aggressive and deadly cancers will have access to the latest in personalised drug trials as a result of State Government support for a national cancer program.

Under the new initiative, announced today by WA Health Minister Roger Cook, patients with rare and advanced-stage cancers will be able to access trials under the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, without having to travel interstate.

The development follows provision of seed funding from the WA Department of Health to the State’s leading clinical trials facility, Linear Clinical Research, to offer the latest in personalised cancer drug trials.

These trials enable patients to undergo treatment tailored to their individual cancer, based on a genetic profile of their cancer.

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in NSW has been running the personalised medicine trials for the past six years.

Despite being open to patients outside of NSW, interstate patients were expected to meet their own travel expenses.

Under the new arrangements, WA patients already matched to one of the trials will be able to receive treatment at Linear’s clinical facility based at the QEII Medical Centre.

Linear is the State’s only early phase trials unit, and one of only five such facilities in Australia, that offers trials to healthy volunteers and patients from national and international start-up biotech and multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Mr Cook said personalised medicine was one of the new frontiers of science.

“The program gives us the opportunity to extend the lives of really ill patients who have not responded to existing treatments,” he said.

“The combination of advanced genetic screening capabilities for cancer and exceptional cancer specialists and researchers working on this program, means WA cancer patients with rare cancers will now have access to the best level of clinical care available.”