14 November 2023

Cancer clinical trials team from Wollongong Hospital recognised for accessible and world-first treatments

| Keeli Royle
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Cancer clinical trials team with awards

(L-R) Oncology Trial Coordinator Tia Summerside, Cancer Clinical Trials Manager Carly Leighton, NSW Health Minister Ryan Park, Team Leader Haematology Trials Tameika Tubaro and Senior Research Officer Lucy Sutton. Photo: Supplied.

Wollongong Hospital has received state honours at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research for its extensive and world-first trials, which continue to support the local community and improve outcomes for patients.

The hospital’s Cancer Clinical Trials Unit was recognised for driving healthcare improvement through clinical trials in haematology, medical oncology and radiation oncology, and particularly its ground-breaking trial into multiple myeloma, which was the first of its kind.

“Wollongong is continuing to grow as the city of innovation and scientific endeavour and I am so proud that our community is home to a world leader in cancer research,” Wollongong MP Minister Paul Scully said.

“I want to congratulate the remarkable achievements of Wollongong Hospital in its work to provide better health outcomes around the world.”

READ ALSO Wollongong patient first in the world to trial new drug to treat blood cancer

The unit was established in 2000 and has allowed local patients to receive specialised support and clinical expert care throughout trials without the need to travel to Sydney.

The number of clinical trials conducted at the unit has increased tenfold over the past eight years, with more than 75 active cancer clinical trials and treatments provided to more than 100 patients last year alone.

Diversity within the trials has also expanded to reach more people, now treating more than 23 different cancer types and improving access to regional and remote communities.

The dedicated workforce at the self-funded trials unit come from a vast range of backgrounds, including science, nursing, pathology and business, all collaborating under the guidance of an experienced cancer clinical trials manager.

“Cancer touches all of us, with one person in NSW diagnosed with cancer every 10 minutes,” Health Minister and Keira MP Ryan Park said.

“Helping more people survive cancer is impossible without the passion, dedication and commitment and I’d like to thank every person working behind the scenes to reduce the impact of cancer.”

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Wollongong Hospital received the award for Outstanding Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at the ceremony celebrating the research achievements of individuals and teams working to improve cancer outcomes in NSW.

Each winner received a funding boost as part of their prize to help continue their important work.

“NSW has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world and our excellence in cancer research is a key reason for these outstanding outcomes,” NSW Chief Cancer Officer Professor Tracey O’Brien said.

“Unfortunately, cancer still takes the lives of more children and adults in NSW than any other disease.”

“Thanks to research and innovation, we know NSW will be at the forefront of discoveries that will save lives and keep families and communities safe and supported.”

For information about available clinical trials, people should speak with their GP or specialist, email [email protected], or go to ISLHD’s Cancer Clinical Trials website.

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