Dialog Box


Jarryd Roughead backs push to get more sick Australians on next-generation treatments

17 May 2018 at 12:00 AM

Patients will be persuaded to try medical trials to access next-generation treatments while bolstering Australia’s biotechnology industry.

A new push to open clinical trials of the latest emerging treatments — including lifesaving drugs such as that which saved Hawthorn captain Jarry Roughead’s life — is being launched by the Federal Government.

Hawthorn captain Jarryd Roughead and Australian of the Year Ian Frazer will lead the Helping our Health awareness campaign as part of a $248 million boost for clinical trial activity.

Having overcome melanoma with the groundbreaking immunotherapy treatment Opdivo during a 2016 clinical trial, Roughead said he was proud to be advocating for such an important cause.

“Without clinical trials, the treatment I received for melanoma would not have been possible,” Roughead said.

More than 1000 clinical trials are currently underway in Australia which Health Minister Greg Hunt said offer the hope of better diagnosis, treatment and ultimately cures.

“Clinical trials are about saving lives and protecting lives,” he said.

“We are investing significantly to open up access to new medicines that help Australian patients.”

The Helping our Health campaign will feature advertising throughout the media as well as in clinical settings to encourage people to sign up for a clinical trial.

Professor Ian Frazer said trials offered the means to move medical research out of the lab and into practice.

The original version of this article appeared here on the Herald Sun. Below is the full text of this morning's press release from the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt.

AFL superstar joins push to get more Aussies into clinical trials


The Turnbull Government is launching a national awareness campaign to get to get more Australians into ground-breaking clinical trials, opening up access to life-saving new medicines and treatments.

The Helping Our Health awareness campaign will be led by four-time AFL premiership player and Hawthorn Football Club Captain, Jarryd Roughead.

Roughhead will be the official ambassador for the campaign and signed up after gaining an understanding of the importance and benefits of clinical trials following his own health scare.

In 2016 Roughead received news that a melanoma on his lip – detected and removed in 2015 – had spread. A biopsy confirmed four small spots on Roughead's lungs were cancerous.

Jarryd’s treating doctor Professor Grant McArthur from Peter MacCallum Centre, suggested that Jarryd consider a new immunotherapy treatment that was at the time being tested in clinical trials.

The clinical trial tested the effect of a combination of two immunotherapy drugs, Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (Ipilimumab).

Jarryd began treatment in June 2016 and by November 2016 was given the official all clear and declared cancer free.

This is the power of clinical trials and we want more Australians to access them. They offer hope of better diagnosis, treatment and ultimately cure.

Jarryd Roughead said “The effective treatment of Australians living with medical conditions were in part dependent on the success of clinical trials and innovative research.

"I am proud to be advocating for such an important cause. Without clinical trials, the treatment I received for melanoma would not have been possible," Roughead said.

Helping our Health will feature a range of social and digital advertisements telling the success stories of Australian patients who have been through, and benefited from clinical trials, encouraging people to sign up for a clinical trial.

Former Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer said “Clinical trials are the means by which we move medical research into clinical practice for the benefit of the general public. They are the innovation that drives health system improvement and given us prolonged and healthier lives.”

Only last week the Turnbull Government announced a $248 million investment to support clinical trials for Australian patients with rare cancers and rare diseases, and unmet need clinical trials and registries program.

In the 2018-19 Budget we announced our commitment to deliver $6 billion in record funding for Australia’s health and medical research sector, including $3.5 billion for the National Health and Medical Research Council, $2 billion in disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund and $500 million from the Biomedical Translation Fund.

The foundation of the Government’s commitment to health and medical research is a new job boosting $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan, to improve health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Australians, create tens of thousands of new jobs, and develop the next generation of Australia’s global leading industries.

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Category: Rare Cancers in the News
Tags: AFL, cancer, clinical trials, football, Government, Greg Hunt, Hawthorn, Health Minister, immunotherapy, Jarryd Roughead, melanoma, opdivo, rare cancer, research, science, treatment,
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