Construction has begun in Melbourne on a new cancer centre that will bring oncology and haematology specialists, multidisciplinary services, researchers and other services under one roof.
The Paula Fox Melanoma and Cancer Centre is a $152 million venture funded jointly by the Victorian state and Commonwealth governments and philanthropic donations with the aim of providing comprehensive skin cancer care services on one site.
The new centre, on St Kilda Road next to the Alfred Hospital, will be home to the Victorian Melanoma Service, Alfred Cancer Services, and the Australian Clinical Trials Centre. And as part of the Alfred Health’s greater ‘TrialHub’ program, it will also improve access to treatment for cancer patients in regional Victoria, according to Chief Executive Professor Andrew Way.
“The centre will support the delivery of advanced cancer care — particularly for ‘Australia’s cancer’ melanoma — while playing a role in extending the availability of a range of cancer and other clinical trials into regional and rural areas,” Professor Way said.
The centre will have capacity for almost 300 patients per day across 25 clinic rooms and 49 chemotherapy treatment chairs, for patient screening, assessment and treatment. Its facilities include outpatient and clinical trial suites, a Day Therapy Unit for cancer and haematology services to provide chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other therapies and transfusion, a Multi-day Clinical Trials level and a floor dedicated to research labs.
Director of the Victorian Melanoma Service at The Alfred, Associate Professor Victoria Mar, said the co-location of melanoma, oncology, clinical trials and research operations promises to drive new breakthroughs in cancer care.
“These state-of-the-art research and clinical trial laboratories mean that our researchers and clinicians can investigate and respond to the emerging needs being seen by clinicians, here in the same building,” she said.
“What is so exciting about this centre is the investment in research and technology that has the capacity to change the way we deliver cancer care into the future.
“Along with treatment and research, the five-level facility will also house a world-leading wellness and education centre, reflecting the holistic and collaborative nature of cancer care and an Advanced Diagnostics and Telehealth Centre — both supported by Minderoo Foundation.
“We want our patients to feel as comfortable as possible, while they are receiving the very best of care,” she said.
The centre is named after philanthropist Paula Fox whose personal commitment to melanoma research and treatment has helped make the centre a reality.
The hospital and research centre is expected to be operational in 2024, said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
“With a great partner in Canberra, we’ll deliver a world-class Melanoma Centre in St Kilda to prevent, detect and treat skin cancers …this specialist centre will enhance cancer care and expand clinical trials, so every Victorian patient can get the care they need, close to home.”