ALLG plans acceleration of blood cancer research as part of Australia’s new Blood Cancer Taskforce
ALLG will take part in Australia’s first Blood Cancer Taskforce, announced yesterday by Minister Greg Hunt and established in collaboration with the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia, which launched its seminal report, “State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia”.
The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG) is extremely pleased with the Morrison Government’s announcement yesterday, September 1, that it has established Australia’s first Blood Cancer Taskforce in collaboration with the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.
Urgent action is needed to address the rates of blood cancer in Australia, which are due to double by 2035.
The formation of the Blood Cancer Taskforce is an important initiative that will bring the Australian blood cancer community together to identify the issues facing the patients, health professionals and wider community and collectively advise the government on the most efficient and effective ways to address blood cancers.
The Blood Cancer Taskforce will bring significantly more awareness to blood cancer and bridge gaps in treatment pathways for Australian patients.
One of the key challenges of the new Blood Cancer Taskforce is to accelerate Australian research into blood cancer. This research is critical to develop better treatments to support the 41 Australians diagnosed every day with a range of blood cancers and to eradicate the diseases, which kill on average 20 Australians a day.
ALLG is a critical organisational member of the new Blood Cancer Taskforce and is the only investigator-run clinical trials group focusing on blood cancer research in Australia.
Associate Professor Peter Mollee, haematologist and Head of the Myeloma Service at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Director and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee at the ALLG, stated, “The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group, ALLG, is working within the Blood Cancer Taskforce and with the Leukaemia Foundation to develop an action plan for Australia. Our expertise is in clinical trial research. We want to ensure that Australia is in a good position to make future investments into blood cancer clinical trials for all Australians. These clinical trials provide the essential knowledge that our blood cancer specialists need to treat our patients and also give patients earlier access to new treatments.”
He added, “The Taskforce will be an important driver for Australian-led clinical research via the ALLG’s clinical trial network. The awareness and funding are critical for the ALLG, which is Australia’s only not-for-profit blood cancer clinical trials group. Australia’s leading blood cancer specialists work tirelessly through the ALLG to improve the quality of life for Australians living with blood cancer.”
“We at ALLG are pleased that Minister Greg Hunt and the Morrison Government have agreed to support the clinicians, researchers and patient groups in the blood cancer community by commissioning a Blood Cancer Taskforce to develop a national strategic action plan for blood cancer” said Delaine Smith, Blood Cancer Taskforce member and chief executive officer of ALLG.
“ALLG is proud to be a participant in the Blood Cancer Taskforce and its initiatives because our work to accelerate research through development and conduct of clinical trials directly benefits patients care and researcher knowledge. We must have a supportive and focused research environment in Australia, and the task force is the first steps toward this,” said Ms Smith.
Currently, ALLG clinical trials involve the participation of on average 300 patients with blood cancer per year, but this is not nearly enough to drive treatment advances to meet the Blood Cancer Taskforce’s aim of achieving “Zero Lives Lost to Blood Cancer by 2035”. To this aim, ALLG supports increasing the investment in world-class blood cancer clinical trials because it will encourage more clinician involvement in researching new treatment pathways, encourage more patient participation and lead Australia and the world to a cure for blood cancer.
“The government is making a wise investment in establishing the Blood Cancer Taskforce. Researchers focusing on blood cancer need more opportunity to conduct research, and patients need more opportunity to volunteer for research. When we have the community working together toward a common goal, we can understand the disease biology better, conduct meaningful clinical trials, and conceive evidence-based plans for changing practices in how to treat, prevent, eradicate blood cancer,” stated Ms. Smith.
Ms Smith continued, “If this collaboration does not happen now, we risk falling behind in Australia, which inevitably leads to costly and frustrating situations for not only clinicians and scientists, but also patients who desperately need new treatments.”
“The ALLG is excited to partake in the Blood Cancer Taskforce and deliver clinical research that provides people suffering with blood cancer new and more effective treatments delivered in a more sustainable manner,” Ms Smith added.
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About the ALLG:
The ALLG is a not-for-profit clinical trial organisation that sponsors local investigator initiated clinical trials. Membership of the ALLG is approximately 305 clinicians, made up of the Haematologists treating Leukaemia and Lymphoma across Australia and New Zealand. The ALLG plans, designs, conducts, monitors and publishes investigator initiated clinical trials.
About the Morrison Government’s National Action Plan for Blood Cancers, announced September 1, 2019:
About the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia’s ‘State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia’ report, released September 1, 2019: