You should have equitable access to best practice-treatment and the latest trials, tests and diagnostic tools.
People living with blood cancer have the best chance to survive and to live well when they are diagnosed quickly and treated with the best therapies for their disease type.
People living with blood cancer face significant challenges every day in accessing reliable best practice diagnostics, treatment and care.
Their experience varies depending on where they live, and Australians are dying because of those inconsistencies.
We will continue our investment in innovation for all blood cancers: from advancements in diagnostics and treatments to improving life after blood cancer.
- We will collaborate with national providers of blood cancer treatment for access and application of best practice treatment and care to deliver substantial improvements in survival outcomes and quality of life.
- We will use data to inform our advocacy for change in the health system for greater access to the latest diagnostics, clinical trials, and new drugs.
- We will continue to collaborate with international research partners and bodies to accelerate research across all types of blood cancer.
Infection detection: laying down a marker against blood cancer
Dr Khai Li Chai’s research is accelerating the ways we can prevent and treat dangerous infections in people with blood cancer.
People who have particular types of blood cancer, like chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma, or who have undergone an allogeneic stem cell transplant, often develop low antibody levels due to their disease or as a result of treatment.
This is known as hypogammaglobulinaemia, and can be associated with serious and/or recurrent infections. Immunoglobulins made from donated blood products and containing vital antibodies can be given to patients to help keep infections at bay, a treatment called immunoglobulin therapy.
Working with Associate Professor Zoe McQuilten and Professor Erica Wood, Dr Chai’s project will evaluate all the evidence, current practice and clinical outcomes of immunoglobulin therapy. She will also analyse people’s immune profiles to better understand their immune system’s capacity to ward off infection.
It’s hoped the outcome from this research will help identify people most at risk of infection and help to guide the dosing and duration of someone’s immunoglobulin therapy.
It could help identify people who may benefit from ongoing treatment and those who can come off treatment sooner.
“We know people with blood cancers are at increased risk of infection,” explained Dr Chai, pictured right.
“As clinicians, we often administer antibiotics and antibody replacement therapy to reduce this risk. A lot of what we do requires more up-to-date information. My project goals are to reduce this knowledge gap and ensure the therapy we provide is not only effective but safe and sustainable.
“The main thing I want to achieve is to produce findings that make a significant impact in delivering individualised therapy able to support improved quality of life for people living with blood cancer.”
Dr Chai is a specialist clinical and laboratory haematologist based at the Transfusion Research Unit at Monash University, Melbourne. She was awarded a PhD scholarship from the Leukaemia Foundation and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand in 2020.