Goulburn Valley women will have access to new, innovative breast cancer treatments as part of an international clinical trial of a new drug.JENNA BISHOP March 1, 2014 6:34am
Unprecedented: Dr Zee Wan Wong will lead a new clinical trial at Goulburn Valley Health to improve breast cancer treatments.
Goulburn Valley Health is one 14 sites in Australia participating in the PALOMA-2 study.
The study aims to improve the treatment available for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer.
Shepparton is one of two regional centres in Victoria to be accepted for the trial.
The PALOMA-2 trial will also be the first time Goulburn Valley Health has participated in an international clinical cancer trial.
Clinical director and Goulburn Valley Health medical oncology consultant Zee Wan Wong said it was fantastic to see Shepparton chosen as a trial site.
‘‘It was something I felt was important to bring to the region,’’ Dr Wong said.
‘‘Patients can get access to drugs and treatments that are not usually part of standard treatment.’’
Dr Wong said the trial would look at breast cancer patients on standard treatment options compared to those on the new treatment combination.
The standard treatment for postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer that has returned or spread to other areas is a drug called Letrozole.
The PALOMA-2 trial aims to determine whether Letrozole together with a new drug, Palbociclib, is more effective than Letrozole alone.
Dr Wong said initial studies on the effects of the oral two-drug combination were already positive.
A small study found the combination controlled the spread of breast cancer for three times as long as Letrozole alone.
The project will also aim to increase treatment rates in regional areas, which did not fare as well compared to metropolitan counterparts who have access to such trials.
‘‘Part of the project is to see whether gaps can be closed between regional and metropolitan outcomes,’’ Dr Wong said.
She hoped the clinical trial would be first of many for the region.
‘‘That way, the patients will have access to great services without having to travel to metropolitan regions.’’
Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Dale Fraser said the research was a great example of the organisation’s increasing capabilities to tackle some of the world’s biggest clinical issues.
The trial is open for enrolment.
To take part, women must not have received any other anti-cancer treatment for advanced disease.
Councillors have formally supported the proposed Shepparton bypass and endorsed combining two early stages to try maximise the project’s chances for securing funding.
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