New Australian grant to support rare cancer drug development

25th January 2018 (Last Updated January 25th, 2018 00:00)

Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced new funding to support various organisations in the clinical development of new drugs to treat rare cancers and diseases. 

New Australian grant to support rare cancer drug development
Australian researchers get funding boost for rare cancers and diseases. Credit: © Greg Hunt MP 2016.

Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced new funding to support various organisations in the clinical development of new drugs to treat rare cancers and diseases.

The A$69m ($55.10m) grant will be used for clinical trial projects involving treatments for severe conditions such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, multiple sclerosis, aplastic anaemia and Huntington’s disease.

It will be used by University of New South Wales researchers to evaluate a vaccine for glioblastoma, while the University of Queensland’s trial will test medical cannabis’ benefits for advanced cancer.

A new preventive treatment for graft versus host disease will be investigated at Monash University in people who have had a bone marrow transplant.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia will perform a trial to compare various therapies for cystic fibrosis. This trial aims to improve care for patients suffering from the condition.

"The Turnbull government recognises the importance of clinical trials to drive new ideas and achieve new discoveries that bring improvements to quality of life and survival rates."

Additional trials will be conducted to assess the effectiveness and safety of aspirin in treating blood clots compared to heparin, as well as a new triple therapy regimen for rare viral-driven brain lymphomas.

Hunt said in a statement: “The Turnbull government recognises the importance of clinical trials to drive new ideas and achieve new discoveries that bring improvements to quality of life and survival rates.

“Investing in health and medical research creates better health outcomes for Australians and the more than $69m ($55.10m) announced today will help ensure our nation’s strong reputation as a global leader in medical research continues.”

The minister further added that a A$10m ($7.98m) targeted grant round will be opened for research into these rare conditions with low survival rates, along with an additional A$33m ($26.35m) funding in 2018-19 to advance this research.