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Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project is funding vital research like the Australian-first project led by Dr Madelé van Dyk from the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, which is aiming to perfect personalised treatments for people living with cancer.

Dr van Dyk, together with her team at the Flinders Centre for Cancer Innovation, are working every day to find ways to use cancer medicines in a more efficient and safe way and understand why people react differently to cancer medicines.

Her particular focus is to move away from the ‘one-size fits-all’ approach to a more personalised approach that considers every person’s individual characteristics.

“Every person is different in so many ways, so it makes sense that each person reacts differently when undergoing cancer treatment,” says Dr van Dyk.

“Selecting the right drug and selecting the right amount of a drug is the ultimate goal in Precision Medicine. We’re selecting the right type of drug really well, but are only half-way there, because we’re still using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ dose. I believe we can do better.”

Working with oncologists and cancer patients, Dr van Dyk and her team have set up Australia’s first Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Program, ensuring that every eligible patient in South Australia can have their drug levels tested through their oncologist, at any hospital, public or private, including those in remote areas.

By monitoring drug levels throughout treatment, Dr van Dyk and her team can ensure that patients are receiving the right dose to make the biggest impact.

Dr van Dyke says that funding from the Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project enabled her to lead a national project that is having a global impact.

“We’re now working with other states and territories to help them set up their own therapeutic drug monitoring program, with South Australia being used as a national example of how the program can work successfully,” she said.

“That’s also led to international collaborations with the Netherlands and Germany with really exciting potential, and that’s only possible because of the support we’ve received from Cancer Council SA.”

Through your support, cancer research like Dr van Dyke’s can make a real difference to the future of cancer treatment and give more Australians diagnosed with cancer the precious gift of time. Find out more about how you are supporting life-saving cancer research here.