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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

29% of blood cancer deaths could be avoided, says Professor Seymour

Health Industry Hub | May 22, 2024 |

Pharma News: Marking a significant advancement in blood cancer treatment and care across the nation, Australia’s Blood Cancer Taskforce has unveiled five new Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs).

Blood cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia. These OCPs serve as trusted guides outlining what optimal care should look like for specific types of blood cancer, placing patients at the centre of care decisions. They also establish national standards for high-quality care, critically important for the 140,000 Australians currently living with blood cancer.

The five new OCPs* in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), AL-amyloidosis, cutaneious T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia (WM) complement the existing eight blood cancer OCPs. Six of these were developed by the Blood Cancer Taskforce in 2022, jointly led by the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG) and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ), while two were developed by the Cancer Council in 2021.

Chris Tanti, Co-Chair of the Blood Cancer Taskforce and CEO of the Leukaemia Foundation, emphasised the importance of the OCPs, describing them as vital blueprints for delivering the highest standard of care at every stage of a patient’s journey.

“The OCPs define the optimal care for someone diagnosed with a specific type of blood cancer and include a full OCP technical document specifically created for healthcare professionals,” said Tanti. “As well as assisting blood cancer specialists, the OCPs will also prove valuable for treating hospitals and GPs, ensuring they have access to the same information.”

He further added, “The introduction of these new OCPs aims to reduce variability in treatment and care across the country for each of these blood cancers, representing a milestone in the battle against blood cancer in Australia.”

The OCPs were spearheaded by a steering committee chaired by Dr Hui-Peng Lee, Clinical & Laboratory Haematologist and President of HSANZ. The committee included leading blood cancer experts in collaboration with patient representatives, and have been approved and endorsed by the Federal and State and Territory governments.

“These OCPs have been developed through a collaborative, evidence-based process to guide healthcare professionals in providing consistent, effective treatment and support to blood cancer patients, regardless of where they live,” said Professor John Seymour AM, Co-Chair of the Blood Cancer Taskforce and Director of Clinical Haematology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital.

He added, “We know that 29% of blood cancer deaths in this country could be avoided through the consistent delivery of the known national standards of timely and accurate diagnosis, optimal treatment, and care, and that’s significant. Australia has a world-class health system, and these new OCPs, along with the existing eight, will ensure we now have Australian-specific standard frameworks for diagnosis, treatment, and care.”

OCPs are a central recommendation in the Blood Cancer Taskforce’s National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer, serving as a blueprint to transform the lives of those living with blood cancer. Integrating these pathways into routine cancer care is a vital step in the Australian Cancer Plan’s objective to achieve optimal outcomes for patients.

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*Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) – led by Dr. Shaun Fleming and Dr. Caroline McNamara
AL-amyloidosis – led by Dr. Fiona Kwok and A/Prof. Peter Mollee
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) – led by Dr. Dejan Radeski and Dr. Carrie van der Weyden
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) – led by Prof. Steven Lane and A/Prof. Kate Burbury
Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia (WM) – led by Prof. Judith Trotman and Dr. Nicole Wong Doo


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