15 February 2018
Outside of the Federal Government, Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project is the single biggest source of cancer research funding in the state. General Manager Services, Research and Public Policy Alana Sparrow talks about the project and the difference it has made to cancer research and investment in the state.
Cancer Council's Beat Cancer Project started with one vision—to bring us closer than ever to a future without cancer. Today, eight years later, we’ve made leaps and bounds towards seeing that vision become a reality.
The Project stared in 2011 when Cancer Council, SA Health, SAHMRI and the Universities all joined together to create a pool of funds to support local South Australian cancer researchers.
Since it started, Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project has funded more than 200 individual research projects across a range of cancers including bowel, breast, prostate and melanoma.
Researchers are funded across all the major institutions covering a broad range of cancer related topics, from basic science and biomedical research through to population health and health services research. The project doesn’t only fund the research, but it also funds some of the vital infrastructure our researchers need to progress their work.
We have some of the best researchers in the state in Professor Ross McKinnon (Flinders University), Professor Tim Hughes (Adelaide University) and Professor David Roder (UniSA) funded by and chairing the project.
And then there are the achievements. Thanks to the contribution of research, in the last 20 years in Australia we have seen cancer deaths fall by approximately 14 per cent. Survival rates for many cancers have increased by as much as 30 per cent.
Just ask Cancer Council Ambassador Ryan Hodges, who benefitted from Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project first hand.
At just 32 years of age, Ryan was told that he had aggressive, Stage 4 lung cancer with a negative prognosis. Ryan turned to Professor Ross McKinnon, who was able to use his research into targeted therapy, funded by the Project, to help reduce Ryan’s tumour and give him the precious gift of time.
Without the Beat Cancer Project, breakthroughs like this simply wouldn’t happen. We’re committed to working with SAHMRI, SA Health and the Universities to ensure that South Australian researchers are provided with a continuity of funding to ensure that through research, they are able to save lives.
This week, The Minister for Health, Hon Peter Malinauskas MLC announced that a re-elected Labor Government will commit an additional $3 million to fully fund the Beat Cancer Project until 2021. Funding like this is vital in supporting Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project and local South Australian researchers to ensure that one day, we will achieve the projects vision of a cancer free future for all.
As the General Manager in charge of research at Cancer Council SA I have the benefit of seeing the amazing work being done by all of our funded researchers from the Beat Cancer Project.
Not only is the work being done improving lives of South Australians touched by cancer right now and into the future, but it is delivering and retaining some of the best and brightest minds here in South Australia. I am incredibly proud of what the project is delivering and incredibly proud that it is being delivered in my home state.
General Manager, Services, Research and Public Policy
Cancer Council SA
Find out more about Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project.