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$7 million funding for rare cancer and diseases clinical trials

19 February 2019
Advancing brain cancer, rare cancer and rare diseases research
Researchers from the University of Sydney have been awarded funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to improve treatments and discover cures for rare cancers and rare diseases.


The Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP announced more than $38 million funding for the MRFF Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Clinical Trials program, which focuses on clinical trials that address areas of health burden and unmet need including brain cancer.

The University of Sydney was successful in securing more than $7 million for five research projects which will enhance clinical trial activity, and treatments and cures for Australians with rare cancers and diseases.

“This funding will allow our health and medical researchers to undertake important clinical trials, which could help increase survival rates of those with rare cancers and diseases. These include trials for children with chronic kidney disease, a rare and devastating disease for children, and people with the rapidly fatal motor neuron disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison.

Grants awarded through the competitive MRFF program include:

  • Co Director of the Brain and Mind Centre, Professor Matthew Kiernan, has received $1.7 million for a coordinated multisite trial network to address the development of disease-modifying therapeutic approaches for ALS, which currently has no available treatments that prevent or stop disease progression.
  • Associate Professor Germaine Wong was awarded $1 million to conduct a controlled trial of the health benefits and costs of a patient navigator program – a direct patient care role that links patients with clinical providers and their support systems – in children with chronic kidney disease.
  • Professor Judith Trotman was awarded $787,000 for a controlled trial to evaluate PET-guided, response-adapted therapy in patients with newly diagnosed advanced follicular lymphoma. If the study confirms the benefit of a PET response adapted approach, it could establish a new standard of care for follicular lymphoma globally.
  • The NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre was awarded $2.4 million was for a multi-arm, multi-stage Australasian clinical trial to test different treatments for people with Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive primary brain cancer in which only 50% of patients survive more than 1 year and 5% survive 5 years.
  • The NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre was awarded $1.3 million to lead a study of the use of precision medicine in treating patients with relapsed high-grade Glioma.

This is the third round of grants announced the under Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need Clinical Trials program taking the total funding announced under this program to $75 million.

Kobi Print

Media and PR Adviser (Medicine & Health)

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