The Australian Government has awarded $2.6 million to researchers at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne for a project using the latest information technology to improve the lives of people who have survived brain cancer.
The three-year grant opportunity titled, Responding to need: technology-enhanced brain cancer survivorship, will be led by RMH’s Director of Neurosurgery Professor Kate Drummond.
Data published by the project team highlight the burden of brain cancer patients’ distressing and debilitating survivorship needs, including physical, cognitive and psychosocial symptoms, as well as financial toxicity and isolation. Lack of access to tailored survivorship care, connectivity with the treating team and peers is common, due to centralisation of care in metropolitan hospitals.
Researchers will develop and demonstrate the impact of an online survivorship platform, co-produced with brain cancer survivors and carers, to streamline access to treating teams, peer support, and evidence-informed supportive care, in a private and secure environment.
Professor Drummond said the grant will ultimately enable better care for brain cancer patients.
"Life with a brain tumour can be isolated and frightening – with limited options for support and management of symptoms – especially if you live in rural or regional Australia, or if you can't drive or have a disability,” Professor Drummond said.
“Our platform will connect brain cancer survivors with information, peer support, their treating team and treatments for troubling symptoms wherever they live. We are so excited to work on this project."
University of Melbourne Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mark Hargreaves said the funding is a big step towards improving the lives of brain cancer patients and their families.
“Brain cancer is an insidious disease that causes immeasurable burden,” Professor Hargreaves said.
“This funding will enable research that promises to improve patient care and ease the distress for their families and friends. We thank the Federal Government for its support and look forward to working closely with our partners at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.”
The grant is funded by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Australian Brain Cancer Mission.