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Comprehensive Cancer Centres reduce cancer deaths, says US expert

Media Release, Thursday 9 July 2009

World renowned oncologist Professor Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia USA will deliver a special Dean’s lecture at the University of Melbourne at 6pm tonight.

Professor Pestell who is Principal, Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and Professor of the Thomas Jefferson University says “The establishment of National Cancer Institutes in the US since the 1970s have significantly increased survivorship of cancer and reduced cancer deaths.”

“This is largely due to medical research for which a substantial proportion takes place in comprehensive cancer centres," he says.

Professor Pestell says the announcement of the $1 billion Parkville Comprehensive Cancer Centre (PCCC), by the Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon and Victorian Premier John Brumby in May this year, is an exciting step towards further collaboration between US and Australian oncologists, medical researchers and health care professionals in cancer care.

Partners in the new world class facility include Peter MacCallum Hospital, the University of Melbourne, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne Health, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Royal Women's Hospital.

“The PCCC provides a single port of communication about advances in cancer research and care which can be then shared globally.”

“We want to create a great football team between the US and Australia, combine our resources and skills to eradicate cancer on a global scale.”

Professor Pestell says personalized medicine is the way of the future for cancer treatment and care.

This includes using molecular genetic markers for individual patient’s tumours to develop treatment strategy and prognosis. It also involves holistic programs such as meditation, acupuncture, art therapy and support groups.

“Our focus is to enable patients to see cancer diagnosis as a life affirming process, not just a life shattering experience,” he says.

”This means helping them through treatments and continually following them up afterwards.”

Results show that this approach has helped contribute to improved survivorship of cancer in the US.

Professor Pestell will be meeting with government and leaders in cancer research and care during his visit to Melbourne and Australia.

WHAT Personalised medicine and cancer care: What does the future hold?
WHEN 6.00 – 7.00pm Thursday 9 July 2009
WHERE Sunderland Lecture Theatre, Medical Building, Corner Grattan Street and Royal Parade The University of Melbourne, Parkville (Melways reference: Map 2B C7)

RSVP and further information: mdhs-rsvp@unimelb.edu.au (03) 8344 9800

More information about this article:

Rebecca Scott
Media Promotions Officer
Tel: +61 3 8344 0181
Mob: 0417 164 791

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