- Some of Australia’s sickest children will soon get access to potentially life-saving treatments through a new personalised medicine clinical trial which is a part of an ambitious plan to reduce the childhood cancer death rate to zero.
- Australian peak mental health bodies say people with psychosocial disabilities are being denied access to the NDIS and are missing out on support and treatment
- Opposition leader Bill Shorten has pledged to allocate $20 million dollars to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute if Labor wins at the next election.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th of September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Some of Australia’s sickest children will soon get access to potentially life-saving treatments through a new personalised medicine clinical trial which is a part of an ambitious plan to reduce the childhood cancer death rate to zero. Over the next three years, more than four hundred children with aggressive cancers will be enrolled in the national trial, giving them access to new and tailored medical treatments. Led by the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Children’s Cancer Institute, the trial – launched on Monday – will begin in Sydney with other cities set to join over the coming months. For many of the children it is their last resort, says research lead Professor Michelle Haber, Executive Director of Children’s Cancer Institute.
“This is a program for the kids who have little chance of surviving their cancer, Professor Haber told AAP. The trial builds on a successful NSW pilot study of nearly sixty children that began in late two thousand fifteen for children whose chance of survival on standard treatments was less than thirty percent. One of the children to be involved in the trial is twelve-year-old Gabe from Avoca Beach on the NSW Central Coast. Gabe was diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour, a rare and aggressive brain tumour. He is one of the more than ninety fifty children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer each year. While many now survive, every week an estimated three children and adolescents die from the disease.
Associate Professor Tracey O’Brien, Director of the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, believe the Zero Childhood Cancer clinical trial will be a “game-changer”.
Australians with severe mental health problems are being regularly barred from the national disability insurance scheme, prompting fears that under-resourcing and a lack of expertise are compromising decision-making. Peak mental health bodies say they are receiving “alarming” reports “on a daily basis” of people with diagnosed psychosocial disabilities being denied access to the NDIS. A list of sixteen recent cases, obtained by Guardian Australia, shows packages have been refused to people with decades-long histories of schizophrenia, major depressive disorders, bipolar and severe anxiety. In one case, access was refused to a person with a forty-year diagnosed history of paranoid schizophrenia, who experiences delusional thoughts and visual and auditory hallucinations, has been admitted to hospital at least five times, and given regular depot injections. In another, funding was denied to an individual with a three-decade long diagnosis of major depression, anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder, because the NDIS could not be satisfied the person was permanently impaired.
The peak body representing Victoria’s community mental health services, Vicserv, has seen fifty rejection cases in the past two weeks, all for individuals previously on the waitlist for state mental health services or in receipt of commonwealth-funded mental health programs.
It says only eight assessors have been employed to deal with mental health applications – a claim the national disability insurance agency (NDIA) disputes. By July, it had approved six thousand ninety three people with psychosocial disabilities, mostly in NSW and Victoria. More than one thousand two hundred new participants were added in the last three months of two thousand sixteen and two thousand seventeen alone. The NDIS estimates sixty four thousand people with a long-term psychosocial disability will be approved for support in the next three years, although the mental health sector believes the true number will be closer to ninety thousand.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has pledged to allocate twenty million dollars to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute if Labor wins at the next election. If the money were to go through, it would be put towards research into metastatic breast cancer – otherwise known as advanced or stage four breast cancer. Of the Australians who are diagnosed with the disease, only thirty percent go on to survive after five years. “Most Australians unfortunately know someone who’s passed away from cancer,” Mister Shorten told reporters at the Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk and Research Run. About seventeen thousand fifty hundred Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
Olivia Newton-John recently revealed her second diagnosis with breast cancer. The announcement comes amid huge developments in breast cancer research, as scientists from the University of South Australia’s Centre for Cancer Biology say they have identified a protein in aggressive breast cancer cells, and are working on a way to cut off its blood supply. However, the Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King, says that it’s still one of the less understood types of cancer. Olivia Newton-John recently revealed her second breast cancer diagnosis, and met with the nation’s leaders including the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss her research institute’s work.