New Hope for WA Patients with Rare Cancers
Western Australian cancer patients with the most aggressive and deadly cancers will have access to personalised drug trials thanks to a national cancer program – and they won’t have to travel interstate.
Under the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, patients with rare and advanced-stage cancers can use genetic screening, and where possible, be matched to a nationally available drug trial that targets their specific cancer.
The development follows funding from the WA Department of Health to the State’s leading clinical trials facility, Linear Clinical Research.
Linear Clinical Research CEO Dr Michael Winlo said these trials enabled patients to undergo treatment, based on a genetic profile of their cancer.
“Patients’ tumors are sampled, and we look for unique markers that might suggest a certain treatment could be more effective than others and then patients are placed onto a personalised treatment regime,” said Dr Winlo.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said this was a really exciting development for Western Australians with cancer.
“Personalised medicine is one of the new frontiers of science, and this initiative will enable WA cancer patients to access cutting-edge medicine without the cost or upheaval of travelling interstate,” said Mr Cook.
“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.”
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.
Additionally, WA patients will soon be able to undergo genetic testing locally through PathWest – potentially being matched to one of the cancer treatments available under the program.
The initiative comes ahead of recently announced Commonwealth funding for the program which will enable patients across Australia to access the personalised treatment in their home states.
Without the State Government money, access to the program would not have been available to WA patients until next year at the earliest.
The WA initiative gives them immediate access to the program.
For more information visit Linear Clinical Research.