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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Door opens for new cancer trials in Queensland

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    Door opens for new cancer trials in Queensland

    PHILADELPHIA: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made a major announcement at BIO Convention 2015 that will put Queensland’s QIMR Berghofer at the forefront of the most innovative cancer therapies in development across the world.

    Ms Palaszczuk told national and international BIO delegates that QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has won approval to become just the second location in Australia to make cancer therapies for use in humans.

    The approval opens the door for clinical trials of new cancer treatments.

    “QIMR Berghofer’s manufacturing facility, Q-Gen, has been granted regulatory approval from the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) to produce clinical grade cellular therapies,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “This is a huge step forward that will put the focus on Queensland and QIMR Berghofer as a global leader in the fight against cancer.

    “If you needed any proof that Queensland was at the cutting edge of cancer research, this is it.”

    Ms Palaszczuk said making the announcement at one of the world’s biggest biotechnology events was the perfect way to help build Queensland’s growing medical research reputation.

    “Queensland punches above its weight when it comes to medical research, and this decision will help advance the discoveries being made in laboratories across the state.

    “We already have some of the world’s best scientists and best facilities, but announcements like this can have a ripple effect when it comes to attracting more scientists and more investment.

    “Ultimately we need to do everything we can to help our scientists and researchers turn their discoveries into commercial reality, because they will help deliver the knowledge-based jobs of the future.”

    The TGA, Australia’s equivalent of the FDA in the United States, is responsible for licencing facilities according to stringent quality and hygiene standards. QIMR Berghofer Director and CEO Professor Frank Gannon said the approval meant the Institute could begin new clinical trials of new cancer immunotherapies.

    “This approval will allow Q-Gen to prepare therapeutics including cytotoxic T-cell therapies for patients with cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC),” Professor Gannon said.

    “QIMR Berghofer is focussed on producing research with outcomes beyond the laboratory, and this is an excellent example of our efforts to get laboratory discoveries through clinical trials and to the hospital bedside.”

    New cancer treatments, developed in the laboratory of QIMR Berghofer’s renowned tumour immunologist Professor Rajiv Khanna, take a patient’s own immune cells from the blood, and “train” them to recognise antigens that are found in particular cancers. The cells are then re-infused back into the patient to attack the cancer.

    Preliminary trials have shown the therapy is safe, has no major side effects and can be effective against virus-specific tumours. QIMR Berghofer is located in Brisbane’s key medical precinct at Herston, and also includes the clinical trials facility Q-Pharm.

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