Select language:  
1800 620 420
Close menu

Vital cancer treatment now available through Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for more Australians living with blood cancer

Monday November 29, 2021

The Leukaemia Foundation welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that the targeted cancer treatment Venetoclax (Venclexta®), will be added to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from 1 December 2021 for Australians living with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

AML is an aggressive type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow produces immature white blood cells or myeloid type of blood-forming cells. Currently, close to 1,100[1] Australians will be diagnosed with the disease each year and this number is projected to grow to reach 3,722 people diagnosed per year by 2035[2].

Venetoclax will be available for use in combination with azacytidine, presenting new treatment pathways for around 340 AML patients who have no other treatment options and representing an alternative to chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti joined Federal Minister for Health, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, AML patients and industry leaders at the Peninsula Private Hospital in Frankston, Victoria for the announcement.

Mr Tanti said, “this announcement is another step in improving the lives of acute myeloid leukaemia patients, and we look forward to seeing further progress to improve survival and quality of life for all Australians living with this blood cancer into the future.”

Venetoclax targets and blocks the action of a specific protein within leukaemia cells called BCL-2. Blocking this protein helps to kill and reduce the number of cancer cells, and may slow the spread of the disease. The treatment has been in development for over 30 years and is based on the Australian landmark research discovery made at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne in 1988.

Over the past two decades, the Leukaemia Foundation has proudly invested more than $54.5 million into innovative research, supporting Australian research institutes, hospitals and universities, including early work on the precursor to ABT-199 which assisted in the development of Venetoclax.

For further AML information, please visit or speak with a Blood Cancer Support Coordinator on 1800 620 420.