Welcome news for brain cancer research | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News, Media Stories, Science News

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse welcomes the announcement this morning by Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt of $4.5 million of funding dedicated to four brain cancer clinical trials.

Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer in adults but also one of the deadliest with a survival rate after five years of only five per cent. Despite advances in survival for many types of cancer, this hasn’t changed for glioblastoma in the last thirty years.

Clinical trials provide the best hope we have for improving outcomes for our patients.

Director of neurosurgery Dr Brindha Shivalingam recently developed a blood test for glioblastoma together with researchers from the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

She said, “For science discoveries to benefit patients promptly, every newly diagnosed brain cancer patient needs to be registered onto a database that holds not only their medical history but also blood and tissue samples from their tumour with comprehensive genetic analysis.”

By gaining access to this wealth of genetic information, clinical trial investigators can look for patterns to determine why some tumours respond to drugs when others don’t.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse will be the first in Australia to establish a registry, GlioNet, which will be rolled out to hospitals across Australia.

“GlioNet will eventually become an open access database providing blood and tissue samples to researchers from across the globe, increasing the potential for further new discoveries. However, without funding, none of this will be possible,” said Dr Shivalingam.

Dr Robert Read is currently on a clinical trial to treat his glioblastoma, named VERTU. As a gastroenterologist, he knew that for such a deadly type of cancer his best chance lay in the latest research and discoveries.

“This cancer has an appalling survival rate and the hope with this trial is to increase that by five per cent. When you’re starting with a very low bar, five per cent is very attractive.”

Robert says he aims to have only good days. He doesn’t brook timewasting conversations on topics like the latest political scandal, has recently taken a trip to the Galapagos Islands and donates money in support of his lifelong interest in the environment.

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