Concord Hospital and Concord Cancer Centre consider scientific research essential to improve the survival rates and quality of life for patients with cancer. Access to the cutting edge research directly impacts cancer outcomes by giving doctors and nurses the latest information and expertise.
The Hospital and Centre are fortunate to have two significant research institutes on site which work closely with Hospital departments: the ANZAC Research Institute and the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute. In 2012 the Institutes received a total of $7 million in funding from the Cancer Institute of NSW to continue their research.
Having research facilities of high academic standard on campus benefits a hospital, as it attracts top academic physicians, researchers and trainees from around the country.
Concord Cancer Centre also has well established clinical trials departments in Medical Oncology and Haematology where patients themselves have access to the latest treatments.
The role of the Ethics Committee is to protect the rights and welfare of human participants involved in research studies. It does this by assessing all applications for research involving humans, raising any concerns with the investigators and then, if satisfied with the integrity of the proposal, approving and monitoring its progress.
The Ethics Committee abides by the guidelines set out in the current version of the Declaration of Helsinki and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).
These documents identify the ethical principles and value which should govern research involving humans. They also provide guidance for researchers, ethics committees, institutions, organisations and the public on how such research should be designed and conducted so as to conform to and reflect those principles and values.
Some patients may be invited to participate in a clinical trial at some stage during their treatment.
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are medical research studies involving people. The purposes of clinical trials include looking for better treatments or better ways to prevent, screen or diagnose a disease such as cancer.
Why are clinical trials important?
Clinical trials are necessary to extend knowledge and improve current treatment and care, now and for future patients. Doctors use the results of earlier clinical trials when they advise you now, so you and other patients benefit from past trials.
The patient always comes first in all clinical trials, which are designed to improve healthcare while minimising any risk to the patient.
Information and consent
If you are asked to take part in a clinical trial, you need to be given enough information to help you make up your mind as to whether or not to participate. Taking part in a clinical trial is completely voluntary.
Clinical trials follow strict scientific and ethical rules to protect patients. You may like to discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor or research nurse. They do not want you to feel that you are under any pressure to take part in a clinical trial.
You may also find it helpful to talk through the trial with someone who is not directly involved in your clinical care such as your General Practitioner.
Information on Clinical Trials
Haematology clinical trials unit
Concord Cancer Centre's Haematology clinical trials unit (CTU) was established in 2003 and has steadily grown to be one of Australia's leading units.
The Unit's mission is:
- To ensure that quality and ethically sound clinical trials are standard of care
- To provide our patient with access to emerging therapies through a diverse portfolio of such quality trials
- To contribute independently to evidence-based medicine.
The motto is:
- best care locally
Through the passion of Dr Judith Trotman and her dedicated team, the CTU support the hopes of cure for their patients with blood cancers, providing over 200 patients with access to a range of treatment options not otherwise available.
Haematological malignancies are rare but often curable, with a plethora of emerging agents rapidly changing the standards of care. Our departmental mission statement is that participation in quality clinical trials is the standard for providing 'world's best care locally'. This underpins our commitment to access these emerging therapies for our patients through a diverse trial portfolio and contribute independently to evidence-based medicine. Our initial goal of "10 by 10", namely 10 per cent of patients participating in clinical trials by 2010 (adopted by the Cancer Institute), was quickly surpassed, and replaced by the longer term stretch goal of "90 by 19"; namely 90 per cent of our patients to be screened for clinical trials participation in 2019.
Why Participate in Clinical Trials?
- Direct benefit:
- from experimental therapy
- outcomes better even where treatment identical
- Benefit to 'medicine' and science
- Benefits future patients (speeds development of effective therapies)
- Access to therapies not available on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Benefits institution
Fundraising is vital to leveraging our capacity to maintain an income, autonomy and financial independence from industry. This financial security ensures retention of quality staff, and freedom to select trials purely on clinical and scientific merit. It contributes to "global buy-in", with high morale and shared commitment by all (GCP certified) haematologists in building a quality portfolio.
Department of Medical Oncology Clinical Trials
The Clinical Trials Unit of the Department of Medical Oncology at Concord Hospital has been conducting clinical trials in cancer since 1985. Cancer clinical trials are undertaken with a multidisciplinary approach to care and coordinated by an experienced team of cancer clinicians, research nurses and data managers. Research nurses become an integral part of the care of patients on clinical trials by helping to coordinate patients' cancer care within the clinical trial.
Clinical trials at Concord Hospital are conducted in a range of cancer types with a particular focus on breast cancer, prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and lung cancer as well as trials investigating psychosocial and survivorship care of patients with cancer. Trials on offer generally range from smaller local ('investigator-initiated') trials to larger national and international trials coordinated by collaborative cancer research groups to industry-sponsored (for example, by pharmaceutical companies) trials.
Participation in clinical trials increases the body of scientific knowledge that leads to the translation of improved treatment options for patients with cancer into routine clinical practice. Patients may directly benefit from participating in clinical trials by gaining access to brand new cancer drug treatments or access to cancer drug treatments that are otherwise not available to them because they are not reimbursed by the government (through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme).
All new patients seen by cancer doctors in the Department of Medical Oncology are screened for suitability to the available clinical trials. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial for your type of cancer, you should ask your doctor for more information.
Concord Repatriation General Hospital also benefits from its research links across Sydney Local Health District