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Govt provides $5.6 mln for new initiatives into cancer research

27 January, 2009

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced $5.6 million in funding for new research and clinical trial initiatives to reduce the impact of cancer on all Australians.

In South Australia, the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS) will receive $3.7 million in National Health and Medical Research Council Program Grant funding for its work on better treatment for blood cell cancers such as leukaemia, and inflammatory diseases.

Professor Angel Lopez, head of the human immunology research team at IMVS and co-head of the newly-formed SA Centre for Cancer Biology, will lead the research, which focuses on a group of protein hormones and their receptors, which are implicated in blood cell cancers such as leukaemia and inflammatory diseases for which current treatments are inadequate.

Prof Lopez's research will help Australia develop new drugs which are more specific to cancers such as leukaemia, and have fewer side effects.

The programme funding is spread over five years starting in 2010 and will support the Centre, which has about 120 staff.

The Rudd Government will also make available through Cancer Australia a total of $1.9 million of funding for four national cancer clinical trials groups.

The funding part of the Rudd Government's $20 million investment in clinical cancer trials over the next two years through the Support for Cancer Clinical Trials and Boost Cancer Research programs will allow three established clinical trials groups to continue their important work in sarcoma, neuro-oncology and children's haematology/oncology research. It has also funded the establishment of a new Primary Care Cooperative Cancer Clinical Trials Group to focus on prevention, detection and care of people with cancer.

Clinical trials build evidence on the best ways to improve the outcomes for people with cancer and contribute to a reduction of premature death and disability.

Cancer is a major killer in this country, leading to the death of nearly 40,000 Australians each year.

Medical and clinical trials research is part of our continuing commitment to improve outcomes for Australians affected by cancer.

The Rudd Government has set in place substantial strategies to combat cancer and to better care and support for people living with cancer, including:

- $87.4 million over three years for a national bowel cancer screening programme;

- $50 million over three years to establish a Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Sydney;

- $31 million over five years to subsidise breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomy as a result of breast cancer;

- $15 million over five years to set up two dedicated prostate cancer research centres;

- $15 million over two years for construction of a purpose-built Children's Cancer Centre at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide;

- $15 million over three years for better support for people living with cancer through new youth cancer networks;

- $12 million through the McGrath Foundation for breast care nurses in 44 locations;

The Rudd Government is confident that its coordinated effort, working in cooperation with the States and Territories, researchers, funders of cancer research, universities, policy makers and people affected by cancer will provide lasting benefits for all Australians.

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