For children with cancer clinical trials are part of the treatment so Medicare should pay.

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1% of cancer diagnoses are children.  Chemotherapy was invented in the 1940s by a US doctor trying to find a cure for leukaemia in children.  The pharmaceutical industry has made a fortune selling chemotherapy drugs for adults after studing the results of Dana Faber's research.  Regrettably, the same industry will not fund research into the treatment of children's cancers as the market is too small to make a profit. Clinical trials are the scientific way of proving that a new or improved clinical treatment actually works.  

As a result of this problem, the US and European children's hospitals have formed consortiums to run clinical trials to improve and treat children with cancer. They are the reason that cure rates have gone from 0% to over 80%.  Australian paediatric oncologists recommend a child's participation in clinical trial over 'standard' treatment if a clinical trial is available.  Most clinical trials are run by these international consortiums such as Clinical Oncology Group in the USA or similar ones in Europe. Australian children's hospitals are welcomed to participate in these clinical trials but they have to raise their own funds to do so. Our governments will not fund their participation.

In Australia, these international collegiate clinical trials are not regarded as 'Australian' research and so are rarely funded by federal government research grants.  Instead, only 'standard' treatment is funded by medicare and administered by the states' children's hospitals.  Ironically, those 'standard' treatments are the result of previous clinical trials proving that treatment to be the best available.

Clinical oncologists from the Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology/Oncology Group said to a Select Committee investigating cancers with low cure rates that:

"If we do not bolster our clinical trial capability we run the risk that survival rates for Australian children with cancer will not keep pace with the leading countries in the world. The increasing cost of participating in these trials means that this risk is real."

I ask that our children be given the chance to participate in any clinical trial that a child's treating paediatric oncologist recommends. 

Surely Australian children with cancer deserve a fair go to survive their cancer?