Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

5 September 2021

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Health

Supporting access to leading-edge cancer treatments for children

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has provided $600,000 over three years to secure the future of Tasmanian’s only Children’s Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, as committed at the election.

The unit, which supports access to leading-edge treatment for Tasmanian children with cancer, previously depended entirely on donations.

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of non-traumatic deaths in Tasmanian children and is a significant contributor to long-term health issues.

It is well established that improvements in survival rates and health outcomes for children with cancer over the past five decades are attributed to large-scale national and international clinical trials.

The Children’s Cancer Clinical Trials Unit was established around three years ago through funding of over $300,000 by The Kids’ Cancer Project to ensure Tasmanian children with aggressive forms of cancer could locally access innovative treatments by participating in large-scale trials.

Prior to this, taking part in a clinical trial was incredibly challenging, with the child receiving treatment having to spend significant time interstate while often their extended family was back home in Tasmania.

The Government’s commitment will ensure continued local access to clinical trials by Tasmanian children with aggressive forms of cancer.

It will also help provide certainty around the recruitment of staff and will be matched by an additional $300,000 commitment over the next three years from The Kids’ Cancer Project.

Since the unit commenced, Tasmanian children have been able to access new therapeutic options for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, brain cancers and refractory solid tumours by participating in clinical trials.

Over the next six months there are several new clinical trials set to open, including a large-scale leukaemia trial, which will enable access to the latest molecular diagnostics and therapeutic agents.

The Children’s Cancer Clinical Trials Unit is also continuing to work on enabling patients from the North and North-West to better access trials by providing outreach services to the North-West Regional Hospital and Launceston General Hospital.

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