WA gets personal about targeting cancer

31 July 2018

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

Health professional looking into a microscope

Department of Health seed funding will enable patients with rare and advanced-stage cancers to access trials that are treating patients with immunotherapy that is based on the genetic profile of their particular cancer.

These trials have been running at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in NSW for the past six years and have achieved some remarkable results. While patients outside of NSW have been able to take part in these trials, they have had to meet their own costs for monthly trips to NSW.

Now, thanks to Department of Health funding to PathWest and the State’s leading clinical trials facility, Linear Clinical Research, WA patients will be able to take part in the trials without having to leave the State.

Under the new arrangements, 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 have genetic testing done locally through PathWest, potentially enabling them to be matched to one of the cancer treatments available through the trials.

The initiative comes ahead of recently announced Commonwealth funding for the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program which will enable patients across Australia to access the personalised treatment in their home states.

The Department of Health funding essentially expedites WA patients’ access to the program, which would not otherwise have been available to WA patients until next year at the earliest.

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