Latest ‘State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia’ report released.

Latest State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report

 In News
Prof John Seymour a launch of 2nd State of the Nation report

Latest ‘State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia’ report highlights progress and the actions still required to improve outcomes for patients.

The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma (ALLG), as the only investigator-run clinical trials group focusing on blood cancer research in Australasia, is a proud member of the Government’s National Blood Cancer Taskforce. The Taskforce launched the second iteration of the “State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia (SoTN)” report on 27 February 2023.

ALLG contributed to the latest report that demonstrates that greater action is needed in research and clinical trials to reduce the burden of cancer in the future. The statistics are sobering, with 18 Australians losing their lives to blood cancer each day. New modelling shows that optimal treatment could save eight lives per day.

Professor John Seymour AM, Taskforce co-Chair and ALLG Member, spoke at the launch.

We can prevent people dying unnecessarily from blood cancer if we consistently, and in a timely fashion, deliver what we currently know is best practice,” Prof Seymour said

Prof Seymour is Director of Haematology at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He has provided leadership in developing and releasing five new Optimal Care Pathways for blood cancer, with six more expected later this year. These pathways ensure that individuals diagnosed with blood cancer receive the best possible treatment options.

Ms Delaine Smith, ALLG Chief Executive who provided stakeholder input to the SoTN, commented:

The ALLG has been committed to improving treatment through clinical trials over the past 50 years,” Ms Smith said. “Focus on key areas such as Enable access to novel and specialised therapies will result in major improvements over the next 10 years. The Report highlights areas where better, faster, access to new therapies is key to reducing the burden of blood cancer in the future.”

This latest SoTN report builds on the first report in 2019, which ALLG also contributed to. That report provided a comprehensive understanding of blood cancer in Australia and prompted positive changes for those affected.

The formation of the Blood Cancer Taskforce has been an important initiative to help 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 Taskforce was established in 2019 in collaboration with the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.

Important progress has been made against each of the key strategic objectives since the launch of the first SoTN report in 2019, even against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, the Taskforce led the development of six Optimal Care Pathway guides to set national standards of care and treatment for blood cancer patients across Australia; a couple other significant reforms include:

  • Access to new medicines has improved, with 16 new medicines listed on the PBS and $80 million in funding for CAR T-cell therapy alongside approvals for three therapies, which are now available at eight sites nationally
  • The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport led an Inquiry into approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies in Australia (Zimmerman report). The Inquiry supported first SoTN recommendations for the establishment of programs to improve evidence development and access to therapies (Right to Trial Fund), as well as wider health technology assessment and regulatory reform, which are now currently underway.

You can download a copy of the SoTN 2023 report here:

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