World-class research investigating the effects of aspirin on reducing cancer rates will be undertaken in six regional areas across Victoria thanks to a $1.9 million Brumby Government funding boost.
Visiting the Bendigo Regional Clinical School today, Health Minister Daniel Andrews and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan officially launched one of the ASPREE (ASPirin for Reducing Events in the Elderly) clinical study site.
“The Brumby Labor Government is committed to supporting patients and improving the cancer service system in rural and regional areas,” Mr Andrews said.
“Every day around 70 Victorians are diagnosed with cancer.
“That is why we are taking action to support the latest medical research into cancer treatment and prevention and that’s why we delivered $1.9 million over three years to extend the reach of this important study to six regional centres in Victoria.
“The funding will be used to open ASPREE trial sites in Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Warrnambool, Traralgon and Shepparton.
“This funding means even more regional Victorians will be able to participate in world class cancer research.”
ASPREE is a major seven year study funded by the National Institute of Health looking into the potential of aspirin to provide longer and healthier lives for people. A major component is the influence of aspirin on the incidence of cancer.
Ms Allan said the trials followed the Government’s announcement to build a new $473 million Bendigo Hospital that would include improved cancer services for patients in the region.
“The new Bendigo Hospital will mean cancer patients in the region will be able to access an additional linear accelerator and radiotherapy bunker to treat an additional 400 patients a year,” she said.
“It will also include 18 additional oncology chairs for chemotherapy patients, which will more than triple the current number of chairs.
“As a result, the new Bendigo hospital will be able to treat more than 1000 radiotherapy patients per year by 2016.
“This means more patients will be able to access care closer to home and their families.”
Ms Allan said today’s funding announcement would train and employ up to four local key research staff to undertake ASPREE clinical trials and run the trial sites.
“It will also help support local laboratories to collect, process and store blood from study participants and contribute to the Health Ageing Biobank,” Ms Allan said.
“The Biobank, the first of its kind in the world for the elderly, will be a valuable resource in the search for new markers of disease risk and the exploration of new approaches to preventing diseases, such as cancer.
“The opportunity for all Victorians to have the chance to be involved with important studies like this one is central to the Brumby Labor Government’s vision for cancer in Victoria.”
Mr Andrews also announced the Government would deliver $250,000 to fund education and support for regional doctors and nurses wanting to undertake clinical research.
“This program will establish closer links between regionally-based cancer doctors and nurses and their metropolitan colleagues so more trials and research can be done outside of Melbourne, benefiting local people directly,” he said.
Mr Andrews said the Brumby Labor Government’s $150 million Victorian Cancer Action Plan was about investing in innovative research, prevention and treatment strategies to improve care and save lives.