Patients in the ACT suffering from rare cancers will benefit from a trial of cutting-edge personalised treatment thanks to a new partnership between the Canberra Region Cancer Centre and world-class research institute the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

Patients in the ACT suffering from rare cancers will benefit from a trial of cutting-edge personalised treatment thanks to a new partnership between the Canberra Region Cancer Centre and world-class research institute the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris today announced ACT Health would join the Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) clinical trials which will match novel therapies to rare and less common cancer patients based on their individual molecular and genetic makeup.

“About 30 per cent of cancers diagnosed are rare and less common cancers, and many are currently incurable which means they result in 50 per cent of all cancer deaths.

“I’m very proud to announce today that the ACT Government will invest $436,000 over three years on the trial, which will provide significant benefits for patients here in Canberra.

“This trial will ensure Canberrans who are fighting incurable tumours receive the best personalised treatment available right now.

“Under the trial, eligible patients being treated at the Canberra Regional Cancer Centre will be able to have samples and information submitted to the Garvan Institute for analysis and have potential therapies identified.

“The ACT medical community will also benefit from collaborating with a world-class institution in improving patient health outcomes and in attracting high quality clinicians to the ACT,” said Minister Fitzharris.

The MoST project identifies optimal therapeutic targets for patients without treatment options by using cutting edge molecular and genetic analysis of their tumour.

New drugs are becoming available which are specific for these therapeutic targets. This leads to higher response rates, less side effects and better outcomes than traditional methods.

Close to 100 patients are expected to be recruited for the trials, which will commence early in 2018.

“I’m so proud that through this trial we will be able to ensure Canberrans with rare cancer who are eligible for the latest therapies get direct access to them,” said Minister Fitzharris.

According to Professor David Thomas, head of the Cancer Division at the Garvan Institute, “Garvan’s Genomic Cancer Medicine Program is providing access to precision medicine for patients who have incurable cancers, and particularly for those many Australians affected by rare and less common cancers.

“Over the past 12 months, more than 60 patients have come from outside NSW to take part in the program. We are really delighted to be able to work with the ACT Government to bring this program to help patients closer to home.”

The MoST Trial was officially launched by the Garvan Institute and NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre in Sydney in August and is available for patients nationally.

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