Rare disease research gets extra funding

·1-min read

The Morrison government is providing $63.4 million in funding for research into some some of the world's rarest forms of cancer and disease.

The funding is provided through 27 grants under the 2021 Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need program, which aims to increase clinical trial activity in Australia by supporting new, high quality research.

"Rare cancers and rare diseases are specific, life threatening or chronically debilitating health conditions that affect fewer than 1 in 2000 people," Heath Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement on Sunday..

"With limited treatment options, patient outcomes may not be optimal and the combined health burden on the patient and the health sector is significant."

Among the 27 grants, $1.5 million was awarded to the University of NSW to trial combination precision-guided therapies for high risk childhood cancer, based on each child's individual tumour profile.

This can support better targeted treatments based on precision medicine for children with the most aggressive cancers.

Monash University also received just under $3 million for a study that will test whether a structured radiology report can improve the accuracy of reporting of CT scans in pancreatic cancer,

This will help doctors distinguish patients who should receive chemotherapy before surgery, versus surgery alone, to optimise care.

"Identifying the most effective treatment for patients as quickly as possible will support improved outcomes from this devastating cancer," Mr Hunt said.

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