Improving Brain Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis – Ministerial Response

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Original constituency question from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –

My question is directed to the Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy.

The Andrews Labor government is leading the nation in the fight against brain cancer and providing improved treatments and outcomes for patients and their families.

How will the Victorian government’s investment of $16 million into the Brain Cancer Centre improve brain cancer diagnosis and prognosis for paediatric, adolescent and adult patients?

As a community we all know friends and families that have been touched by this heartbreaking disease. Brain cancer has the lowest survival rate of almost any cancer. The disease does not discriminate. Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease. Four out of five patients die within the first five years of diagnosis. For some of us this is personal.

I recently lost my father to brain cancer. He passed away 20 months after his initial diagnosis. To date, little is known about its treatment and progress has been slow, so I thank the government for this investment.

Answer from the Hon Jaala Pulford MP, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy (29 Nov 2021) –

Firstly, may I offer my deepest condolences to Ms Addison on the recent loss of her beloved father Les Dickinson.

The Victorian Government’s investment of $16 million into the establishment of the Brain Cancer Centre will improve brain cancer diagnosis and prognosis for paediatric, adolescent and adult patients by adopting a holistic approach.

The new model within the Centre integrates discovery research with clinical translation by:

  • combining pre-clinical drug development with testing in the clinic,
  • appointing both researchers and clinicians as co-heads of a collaborative laboratory, and
  • physically connecting researchers and clinicians across a major biomedical precinct.

The Centre has connected researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital, the University of Melbourne, and Monash University, and plans to connect researchers from the Florey Institute.

The $16 million funding will establish a Brain Perioperative clinical trial program within the Centre. This will focus on paediatric and adult cancer, as well as primary and metastatic cancer, differing from other institutions which take a narrower focus to these sub-components.

Victorian Government funding will also be used for study development and management, consumer engagement, sample collection, personalised data acquisition, and data analysis and management. In this way, Victoria will provide international leadership in the development of new therapies, biomarker development and novel trial design, providing patients with opportunity and hope.

The establishment of the Centre has been made possible because of a significant contribution from Carrie Bickmore’s foundation Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer. Like Ms Addison, Ms Bickmore knows the heartache of losing a loved one to brain cancer and looks forward to discoveries that will lead to better treatment and outcomes for others.