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New cancer centre 'will halve time from research to patient care'

27 October, 2014

A game-changing medical alliance will bring together – into one, new purpose-built facility – some of the country's best cancer and blood disorder researchers and clinicians.

Initiated by UNSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital and launched by the NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Health and Medical Research Jillian Skinner, the Bright Alliance will personalise and improve access to health care for cancer patients and radically cut the amount of time it takes for research to progress to treatment and patient care. It will also facilitate productive collaboration between researchers, clinicians and patients.

Bright Alliance

"The Bright Alliance is a very innovative and exciting development for patients, for researchers and for the next generation of healthcare professionals," says UNSW Professor Robyn Ward, the Alliance's Foundation Clinical Director.

"It is highly patient-focused and by breaking down barriers between organisations and areas of expertise, we will have a lot of very clever, motivated people working together and sharing their knowledge and ideas.

"This means we will be able to improve treatments and care for people with cancer in a way no single organisation could.

"One of our key goals is to reduce the amount of time it takes for new research to progress to new treatment. Currently, it takes about 20 years and we want to cut that in half," Professor Ward says.

"Having our researchers working so closely with clinicians will also help us to focus on the problems that really matter to patients."

Making NSW "more attractive" for research

The alliance's new building – the first stage of which was also opened last week (23 October) – will be located on the Randwick Hospitals Campus, with physical links to the Prince of Wales Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Women and Sydney Children's Hospital.

Its two key occupants will be the Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre, which will provide a full range of outpatient cancer patient treatment and support services, and Scientia Clinical Research, the state's first publicly-funded clinical trials centre that focuses on early-phase trials.

"Our new building will have state-of-the-art specialised laboratories as well as inpatient facilities that mean Scientia Clinical Research will be able to undertake some really complicated, high-stakes trials work," says Professor Ward.

"It will also make NSW all the more attractive as a location for new trials and elite researchers."

The building, which is due for completion in 2016, represents an $80 million investment on the part of the State and Commonwealth governments, UNSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital and its Foundation.

"The Bright Alliance is collaboration at its best and an example of how universities can engage with the health care sector," says Professor Peter Smith, Dean of UNSW Medicine.

"The organisations, clinicians and researchers who will be part of the alliance are world-class and bringing them together like this is sure to result in some outstanding improvements to cancer treatment and patient care."

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