Blood cancers

Teens with ALL recruited into youth cancer trials

Teenagers with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) will gain access to clinical trials of cutting edge treatments through new funding for the Australian Young Cancer Patient Clinical Trials initiative, the government has announced

The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG) in Melbourne will receive $750,000 in funding for a clinical trial that replaces some of the chemotherapy for ALL with a novel immune therapy.

Announced as part of a $3.2 million funding package with cancer support group CanTeen, the initiative will four clinical trials that also cover recurrent Ewing Sarcoma, medulloblastoma and a trial genetic profiling to improve survival rates for people with rare cancers.

CanTeen CEO, Peter Orchard, said it was important to enocurage clinical trial participation for teens with rare cancers because adolescents and young adults typically have significantly poorer survival rates than children or older adults for cancer types that are common in their age group.

“Around half of the cancer types that affect young people still have 5-year survival rates below 77%.

“We know young people in the 15-25 age group are often caught between being too old for paediatric trials but still too young for adult trials and that taking part in early phase clinical trials it the fastest way to access cutting-edge cancer treatment,” he said.

Around 265 young cancer patients are expected to be recruited into the clinical trials, primarily through the hospital-based Youth Cancer Services, which receive federal funding through CanTeen as well as state and territory government funding.

The trials will be conducted at the Royal North Shore Hospital, the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre and the Garvan Institute in Sydney and at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

The Turnbull Government is also providing CanTeen’s Online Support Platform will a further $1.4 million over the next two years.

The Platform provides professional counselling services every day of the week and access to 24/7 peer support where young people living with cancer can connect with each other through forums, blogs, video stories and direct messaging.

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