Victoria gets a $496m boost for health and medical research

Wednesday, 27 March, 2019

Victoria gets a $496m boost for health and medical research

The Australian Government is investing almost half a billion dollars to deliver world-leading cancer treatment, extra hospital infrastructure, more mental health services and new medical research projects in Victoria, backing the state’s position as a global leader in health and medical research.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said $80 million of the new funding will help create a new national cancer treatment centre at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, providing access to treatments previously only offered overseas and making Melbourne a global hub for immunotherapy. Peter Mac will provide another $25 million towards the initiative.

The Peter Mac Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy will provide CAR T-cell therapy, which involves removing a patient’s T-cells, re-engineering them in a lab and delivering them back into the body to attack and kill the cancer cells. The funding will allow a new manufacturing industry to be built at Peter Mac, meaning that Australian patients can have their cells manufactured in Australia and not be reliant on shipping the cells to the United States for processing.

The investment also includes $24.6 million for the Australian Clinical Trials Network’s TrialHub program, ensuring Australians with cancer and rare diseases have the chance to participate in clinical trials of new treatments and other interventions as close as possible to their homes, regardless of where they live.

A collaboration between Monash University and Alfred Health, the TrialHub program will create partnerships with regional hospitals to expand the reach and participation in clinical trials, allowing patients from all over Victoria access to potentially life-saving treatments. Hospitals in Rosebud, Casey and Bendigo in Victoria will be the first hospitals to partner with TrialHub, which will have an initial focus on rare cancers and other rare diseases, prostate cancer and melanoma.

Other funding highlights include the following:

  • $40 million for new paediatric emergency departments inside the existing emergency departments of Geelong, Maroondah, Frankston and Casey hospitals.
  • $32 million for the new Peninsula Health-Monash University Health Futures Hub, which will be based in Frankston and focus on community health issues including aged care, addiction and mental health.
  • $30 million to create a new research facility at St Vincent Hospital’s Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery, said to be Australia’s first hospital-based biomedical engineering research and training hub.
  • $25 million to establish a new national Drug Discovery Centre, based at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, that will bring life-saving new medicines to patients with the help of advanced robotic gear.
  • $16 million to support the mental health of young people by developing eight new Headspace services in Victoria, in addition to the previously announced Wangaratta service.

“Today’s Health and Medical Research Plan cements Melbourne’s place as a global leader in health and medical research, creating jobs while importantly providing support for Australian patients,” the Prime Minister said.

Image credit: © Photo Club

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