World First Trial A Breakthrough For Leukaemia Treatment

28 January 2016

In a major breakthrough in the fight against leukaemia, Melbourne medical researchers have shown patients with an advanced form of leukaemia can achieve complete remission with a new tablet treatment.

The results from the world first clinical trial of new anti-cancer tablet, venetoclax, have shown it was effective in killing cancer cells in patients with advanced forms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia when conventional treatment options had failed.

Close to 80 per cent of patients involved in the trial had promising responses to the drug, with 20 per cent of those involved going into complete remission.

Many patients have maintained this response more than a year after their treatment began, with some patients remaining in remission more than four years on.

The ground-breaking trial was conducted at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, in partnership with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute – all of which are Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance partners.

The exciting results come as the Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, toured the VCCC’s new Haematology Ward for the first time, ahead of the Centre’s opening later this year.

The VCCC is a purpose-built state-of-the-art facility that brings together the world’s best researchers, clinicians and scientists to accelerate advances in cancer research, treatment and education.

From mid-2016, it will be a brand new home for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, with 160 inpatient beds, 110 same-day beds, eight operating theatres, two procedure rooms and eight radiation therapy bunkers.

The VCCC will also provide new cancer research and clinical facilities for Melbourne Health, and more than 25,000 square metres of dedicated space for over 1200 cancer researchers.

These breakthrough results represent exactly what the VCCC will be all about – our best and brightest researchers, clinicians and scientists working side by side to better the lives of all Victorians touched by cancer.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“These ground-breaking results are exactly what the VCCC is all about – the world’s best clinicians, researchers and scientists working together to drive breakthroughs in cancer prevention, detection and treatment.”

“Bringing our best and brightest together under one roof will mean more cutting edge clinical trials, more world-first discoveries and better support and treatment for Victorian cancer patients and their families.”

“Whether it’s the through the latest medical research, new and innovative technology to improve cancer treatment and care, or the development of clinical trials for patients who are running out of options, the VCCC is about bettering the lives of all Victorians touched by cancer.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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