Clinical trials represent hope
Feb 03, 2022
For some locals participating in clinical trials at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital, the trials represent hope for themselves. Others participate in the knowledge that their involvement could help shape patient care and identify gold standards of treatment for future generations.
Clinical trials are research studies designed to test new treatments, devices or diagnostic tools that researchers hope will improve outcomes for patients.
The clinical trials unit at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital, led by Vishwa Kumar has expanded with an additional team member, more trials and plans for trials at other locations across the Coast.
The local hospital is part of Ramsay Health Care’s National Clinical Trial Network of 14 dedicated units, which use standardised operating procedures and an ethical and governance framework that complies with the Australian Code.
Vishwa said the development of clinical trials and providing patients with access to them is a critical part of a providing a system of high quality, leading care.
“I’ve worked with patients for a long time and really enjoy being patient focused and interacting with them.”
Participation in a clinical trial is voluntary and may give patients the opportunity to access potential new treatments before they reach the market.
“With clinical trials being an option for a number of diagnoses, it is exciting to be able to offer this to our patient population.”
Vishwa said there are different types of trials, across different ‘phases’, and any drugs may be administered by tablet or infusion.
“Phase 1 are new trials and more about dose escalation and how much a patient can tolerate – and may be particularly attractive to patients who are coming to their last line of treatment – whereas phase 3 trials tend to be comparative and may involve an approved drug as well as a new one,” he said.
Clinical trials may give patients access to very expensive drugs at no cost to them, as trial sponsors cover costs.
Vishwa says Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital is currently running clinical trials for conditions such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, urothelial cancer and advanced metastatic disease. In future, the team is hoping to establish trials in the areas of pain management and gastroenterology.
Patients may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial depending on their type of disease or condition, their age and overall wellbeing. Interested patients should speak to their GP or treating specialist.
The SCUPH Clinical Trials team L to R: Joanne, Shelley, Vishwa and Lauren.