Media Release: 23 October 2008
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research and St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney will today announce plans to jointly establish a new $100 million Cancer Centre within the St Vincent’s Research Precinct. The Garvan St Vincent’s Campus Cancer Centre (GSVCCC) will integrate internationally acclaimed cancer research with best practice cancer services, enabling research findings to move quickly into patient care.
Former St Vincent’s cancer patient Delta Goodrem will be Patron of the new Centre, helping to drive the capital fundraising campaign. Ms Goodrem said: “My relationship with the St Vincent’s Campus goes back to when I underwent treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma five years ago. As a former cancer patient I know how important it is to have access to the latest research, new treatments and a multidisciplinary team of experts – to help you through the journey. I want to see this come to life in the Centre and I feel very proud to be able to contribute”.
Housing approximately 250 researchers and clinicians working side by side, the purpose-built Centre will have a major focus on translational research (applying basic laboratory research findings in patient settings) and personalised medicine (combining knowledge of the underlying biology of a cancer and the unique physiological aspects of a patient to ensure the best treatment for that patient) with spaces dedicated to combined patient discussion meetings between treating clinicians and their research colleagues. This collaborative environment will facilitate discovery of ways to diagnose cancer earlier and better predict individual patient outcome and response to therapy.
Announcing the venture, Bill Ferris AC, Chairman of the Garvan and Nicholas Curtis, Chairman of St Vincent’s jointly acknowledged the impact of cancer on the community, noting 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in Australia are forecast to be affected. “Our partnership vision for the Centre is to realise the huge promise of personalised medicine for all Australians by creating a world-renowned facility accommodating a new generation of clinically qualified cancer researchers working in close proximity with world-class biomedical scientists with state-of-the-art facilities,” they said. St Vincents’ proud history of outreach to rural and regional areas will also be a hallmark of the Centre, with dedicated tele-health facilities enabling remote access to its services.
According to Professor Allan Spigelman, SV&MHS Director of Cancer Services, “The Centre will co-locate researchers and clinicians; including doctors, nurse co-ordinators, social workers, clinical psychologists, genetic counsellors and patient educators; to provide best practice multi-disciplinary care. In this way we aim to smooth the patient journey for those who may have to pass through a complex array of care. This includes providing evidence based advice for those seeking complementary treatments by integrating them into mainstream care.”
Professor Rob Sutherland, Director of Cancer Research at the Garvan, confirmed: “In recent years we have gathered a vast understanding of the biology of each cancer subtype and we will be able to harness this research knowledge to assist the process of clinical decision making so that every patient’s unique physiological attributes can ultimately be married to the most effective treatment for that patient.”
The GSVCCC will aim to deliver the following benefits to cancer patients:
- Improve cancer treatment through the discovery of novel drugs and diagnostics and prevention strategies, particularly in prostate, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancers and leukemias.
- Accelerate the delivery of the best and most innovative treatments through integrative, personalised medicine.
- Provide integrated multidisciplinary care through dedicated Clinical Nurse Coordinators.
- Extend services to rural and regional patients through the expansion of St Vincent’s and Mater Health Sydney’s existing outreach programs.
Funding for the $100 million GSVCCC will be raised through philanthropic gifts and corporate and State and Commonwealth Government support. The Trustees of St Vincent’s Hospital have donated the land for the site valued at $10 million and approximately $20 million has already been raised from private donors.
Ms Goodrem is keen to see the public to get behind the venture: “Everyone has been or will be touched by cancer in some way. We all want research to get better and better, care to get better and better and quality of life to be extended. I am donating to support the Centre, and I hope the Australian public will too. By doing so we can help take cancer research and care to the next frontier”.
ABOUT ST VINCENTS & MATER HEALTH SYDNEY
St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney (SV&MHS) is the New South Wales-based arm of the Sisters of Charity Health Service, Australia’s largest non-profit, non-government diversified health care provider. The group comprises St Vincent’s Hospital, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Sacred Heart Hospice, the Mater Hospital, St Joseph’s Hospital and St Joseph’s Village. Collectively, SV&MHS provides a range of acute and sub-acute services from primary prevention through to tertiary level care across community, outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as residential aged care. The work of our facilities is supported by a significant investment in teaching and research in partnership with universities and affiliated research institutes.