USC and specialists to start cancer clinical trials

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USC and specialists to start cancer clinical trials

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Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic Business Manager Gayle Dowsett and USC Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka

27 April 2017

Sunshine Coast residents will have access to breakthrough clinical trials for new cancer treatments following a partnership between USC and one of the Coast’s largest private clinics for cancer patients.

The USC Clinical Trials Centre at Sippy Downs will partner with leading clinicians from the Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic for the innovative and regionally relevant research.

Oncologists and haematologists at the Buderim clinic will join with a USC team led by USC Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka to investigate treatment options such as new drugs or combination therapies.

Mr Litewka said lung cancer and breast cancer were likely to be the first diseases targeted. Other studies could investigate melanoma and cancers of the prostate, bladder, ovaries and blood, as well as less common cancers.

“The aim of these trials is to further medical research to improve outcomes for cancer patients, present and future,” Mr Litewka said.

He said the number of participants and eligibility criteria would vary according to each trial.

“We’ve already had 10 novel drug trials presented to USC for feasibility assessment, so the signs are promising for a trial to start soon,” he said.

Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic Business Manager Gayle Dowsett said the partnership was an important opportunity to contribute to the community and find better outcomes for all cancer patients.

Clinical Haematologist Dr Sorab Shavaksha said, “While we are very fortunate in Australia to have access to world-leading therapies on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, offering a patient enrolment into a well-designed, scientifically valid, peer-reviewed clinical trial gives patients with uncommon diseases the best possible opportunity to regain their health.

“They will also be participating in research that could help future patients who are battling with blood cancers.”

Medical Oncologist Dr Hong Shue said, “Through our collaboration with USC, cancer patients will have access to treatment options that are not always accessible outside of capital cities, and will potentially provide patients with pharmaceuticals not normally available through the PBS.”

Mr Litewka said people seeking cancer treatment options should first consult their current doctors.

Doctors seeking to refer patients to a USC clinical trial can go to the Clinical Trials Centre webpage.

— Julie Schomberg

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