On 24th October 2019, the Snowdome Foundation and Blood Cancer Research WA hosted ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears of Joy’ an educational evening bringing together clinicians, researchers, patients and supporters.
The premise behind Blood Cancer Research WA was to bring blood cancer clinical trials to Western Australian patients. Associate Professor Chan Cheah highlighted just how successful this endeavour has been with the number of patients enrolled into trials increasing by almost 100. It makes your heart sing to know so many more blood cancer patients are now being offered a chance at another treatment. Research shows that patients have better outcomes when they are part of trial and for many it is the only way to access new treatments. Dr Katharine Lewis, Linear Fellow, added weight to this commenting that her role is funded for 2 years to ensure equity of access to new treatments in development.
Patient, Dave Crispin spoke of the hope he has been offered through a clinical trial. Dave had exhausted all other treatment options when he was enrolled into a clinical trial for his follicular lymphoma. He is currently on his second trial and his disease is under control. He marvelled at the fact that the treatment he is currently on was not even in development when he was first diagnosed 7 years ago and he wonders what the future will hold.
Looking into the future and the latest advance in blood cancer treatment was guest speaker Dr Michael Dickinson from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Michael has been heavily involved in the administration, preparation and management of patients receiving CAR T-cell therapy. While the treatment is currently approved for use in paediatric and young adult B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and adult diffuse large B-cell lymphoma it is only funded by the government for ALL. Michael explained how the treatment worked and the hope for the future, he emphasised that access through clinical trials is important especially for blood cancers where CAR T-cell therapy is currently not approved for use.
Adding to the lively panel discussion and interactive question and answer session were Prof Wendy Erber, and Dr Belinda Guo. Both spoke passionately about in the importance of the right diagnosis and how genomics can aid not only diagnosis but also best treatment options for a patient based on their genetic profile.
The evening highlighted how your donation can ‘make hope real’ for West Australians with blood cancer – hope for remission; hope for less toxic treatments; hope for more time; hope for a cure and hope for the future. So please donate to Snowdome Foundation to bring more trials, more hope and every opportunity of a cure to Western Australian blood cancer patients.
Our special thanks to the University Western Australia for hosting us in the IQX building and their delicious catering, as well as Rosabrook and Calneggia for providing the Prosecco and wines.
*Left-right: David Crispin, Dr Katharine Lewis, A/Prof Chan Cheah, Prof Wendy Erber, Dr Michael Dickinson and Dr Belinda Guo
[Blood Cancer Research WA would like to thank Snowdome Foundation for writing this beautiful article on our successful evening in Western Australia]