The government’s announcement for the inclusion of two new drugs to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the pharmaceutical benefits scheme has been welcomed by Professor Geoff McCaughan, Head of Liver Injury and Cancer at the Centenary Institute and Head of Liver Transplant Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Professor McCaughan is a world leader in hepatitis and liver disease research
The subsidy essentially means these very expensive drugs have become more accessible for those undergoing treatment and marks the first breakthrough in a decade for treatment of this chronic condition.
Professor McCaughan said that “this is a giant leap forward in reducing the need for liver transplants in Australia and it’s a great day for patients who suffer from chronic hepatitis C in this country.
“The introduction of these drugs means that we can cure up to 75 per cent of patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C – the most common strain of the disease. Treatment time will also be cut in half for many patients, from one year to six months.”
Professor John Rasko, AO and Minister for Health and Medical Research, The Hon. Jillian Skinner, MP
Centenary is at the heart of Sydney’s new five-year plan for clinical research just launched by the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research, Jillian Skinner.
“We applaud the SLHD for having the foresight to have a strategic approach to medical research, and look forward to an ever closer collaboration that will enrich our patients’ lives,” said Centenary’s Executive Director, Professor Mathew Vadas, AO.
The launch itself demonstrated the Institute’s pivotal role, because it also served as the opening for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s new Cell and Molecular Therapies Laboratories which will be run by Centenary’s head of Gene and Stem Cell Therapy, Professor John Rasko AO.
“With this milestone we open up new opportunities for treating patients who suffer from cancer, genetic and other diseases,” Professor Rasko says.
Professor Warwick Britton, Head of the Mycobacterial Group
Professor Warwick Britton, Head of the Mycobacterial Group at Centenary and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney, has been awarded $2.49 million towards a Centre of Research Excellence on tuberculosis control: from discovery to public health practice and policy – a collaborative program with colleagues from the University of Sydney, Woolcock Institute for Medical Research, University of Melbourne, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The grant adds to Centenary’s investment and effort in containing the spread of TB, still one of the world’s most devastating infectious diseases
and a growing threat to Australia. Drug resistant strains of tuberculosis are prevalent in Papua New Guinea, our closest neighbour.