Rare Daily Staff

The Australian Government said it will invest $37.5 million (AUS $55 million) to promote clinical trials of potential therapies to treat rare cancers and rare neurological disorders.

The government is inviting researchers to apply for grants, which will be made through its Landmark Medical Research Future Fund. The government said the clinical trials activity is aimed at developing new drugs, devices and treatments, and ultimately saving lives.

More than an estimated 40,000 Australians are diagnosed with a rare or less common form of cancer. For many, there is a lack of evidence-based information to inform treatment options and support networks. The government noted that while survival rates for high incidence cancers have improved, those for rare cancers have remained relatively static.

The government has allocated the funding to support different areas of research. More than $13.6 million (AUS$20 million) will be used to address neurological disorders including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, and autism spectrum disorders.

Some $10.2 million (AUS$15 million) will be used to support research into reproductive cancers, including cancers located in the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, endometrium or ovaries in women, and cancer of the testicles in men.

An additional $10.2 million (AUS$15 million) will be used to address gaps in current research and understanding of rare cancers, rare diseases, and areas of unmet medical need.

Finally, $3.4 million (AUS$5 million) will be set aside for childhood brain cancer clinical trials, with an aim to double the 10-year survival rate of childhood brain cancer, improve the quality of life of children living with brain cancer, and ultimately find a cure to defeat childhood brain cancer.

Photo: Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt

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