The medical research community can only be encouraged by the level of commitment demonstrated by the NSW government's $30 million funding to fast track cancer research, the Dean of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Professor Peter Smith, said today.
"We welcome such a substantial commitment so early in the new government's term," Professor Smith said.
"This is well targeted, strategic funding that will help put NSW ahead, not only in terms of research, but also in patient outcomes. It's a broad and ambitious program that insists on smart collaboration between the state's best cancer researchers and it is to be applauded."
UNSW will lead two of the seven new Translational Cancer Research Hubs announced today and play a significant role in a third. The hubs will be funded to the tune of $30 million by the Cancer Institute NSW and the new Office of Health and Medical Research.
The hubs will be home to some of the country's best cancer researchers dedicated to fast tracking the latest research into treatments and solutions into patient care. Each will receive up to $6.5 million over five years to support professional development and training for staff, and new research activities.
Announcing the new program - the first of its kind in Australia - the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research, Jillian Skinner, said each new facility would have close links to clinical services within the new Local Health Districts.
"This program is about getting doctors and specialists, who are treating cancer patients every day, working closely with our cutting edge researchers and translating the latest possible evidence into positive results for patients," Mrs Skinner said.
"Researchers, in turn, will be able to hear first-hand from doctors and nurses about the issues needing to be addressed to improve outcomes at the treatment table."
UNSW will be a leading partner in the South-Eastern Translational Cancer Research Centre (SETCRC), headed by Professor Robyn Ward, director of adult cancer research at UNSW's Lowy Cancer Research Centre. SETCRC brings together comprehensive cancer centres at Prince of Wales and St George hospitals, cancer services at the Royal Hospital for Women and the Sutherland Hospital, and a regional cancer service in the Border/East Hume region of NSW/Victoria.
Professor Ward said the funding represented a great opportunity.
"As a cancer scientist, I am amazed each day by the wonderful new discoveries that research brings to this field. But as a cancer doctor, I am also aware of how hard it is for these discoveries to be translated meaningfully to the everyday experience of people with cancer," Professor Ward said.
"What is so exciting about this latest announcement is that it offers a simple mechanism to let clinical experience inform researchers' questions, and for the answers offered up by research to be applied directly into practice in hospitals across NSW."
UNSW is also the administering institution for the Translational Cancer Research Centre for Kids, led by Professor Glenn Marshall, also from the Lowy Cancer Research Centre.
A third hub, the South-West Sydney Translational Research Unit, will be administered by the Liverpool-based Ingham Health Research Institute, a collaboration of UNSW, the University of Western Sydney and the South Western Sydney Local Health District.
Cancer is a major focus for UNSW Medicine. The University last year opened the $120 million Lowy Cancer Research Centre, the largest dedicated cancer research centre in the southern hemisphere, bringing together adult and childhood cancer researchers for the first time.
In 2014, UNSW and its partners will open the new Randwick Comprehensive Cancer Centre, focussing on world-class cancer treatment.
Media Contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office | 02 9385 8107