Easier access to clinical trials under sweeping changes to medical research

Thursday, May 2, 2024 - 1:00 PM

Minister Mark Butler-MCRI

Image: MCRI Professor Andrew Steer, MCRI Professor Mimi Tang, Debbie Sevels with her daughter Chole, Federal Health Minister Mark Butler, MCRI Professor Kathryn North AC and MCRI Professor Kristen Perrett.


Patients will receive easier access to clinical trials and health care priorities will secure more funding under sweeping changes to medical research in Australia.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler visited Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) today to announce the $1.89 billion ‘Health Research for a Future Made in Australia’ package. Mr Butler was joined by MCRI Director Professor Kathryn North AC, MCRI Professor Mimi Tang, Australian Academy of Science Policy Secretary Professor Ian Chubb AC, Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes President Professor Elizabeth Harland and National Allergy Centre of Excellence Director Professor Kirsten Perrett for the announcement.

The package includes:

  • $1.4 billion for new research via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) including a 10-Year Low Survival Cancers Mission, a 10-Year Reducing Health Inequities Mission and continuing existing streams of MRFF funding
  • More research into three health priorities spanning women’s health, chronic pain and alcohol and other drug treatment
  • $411 million to support 229 researchers to tackle the nation’s greatest health challenges through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant scheme
  • $62 million to support 26 clinical trials from around Australia via the MRFF
  • $18.8 million to progress the National One Stop Shop for clinical trials and health research, which will give Australians early access to treatments, by streamlining the clinical trial process via a single national platform and set of regulations

The Federal Government will also develop a National Health and Medical Research Strategy to build on the system’s strengths and fill any gaps, while attracting researchers and investors.

Mr Butler said the Government was investing in a once in a generation transformation of health and medical research.

“Australia’s health and medical research sector punches well above its weight,” he said. We are ranked 7th in the world and the new national strategy will help our researchers continue to outperform."

“Better alignment and coordination of the MRFF and NHMRC funds will achieve the best of both and strengthen Australia’s world-leading research capability to change and improve the health and lives of Australians."

“The National One Stop Shop will remove needless red tape and help end the postcode lottery in access to clinical trials, to make it easier for Australian researchers and patients to conduct and take part in potentially life changing health research.”

Professor Tang said Government funding for clinical trials helped to accelerate medical research and fast track its real-world impact.

Professor Tang is also Chief Investigator for the Centre for Food Allergy Research and a member of the National Allergy Centre of Excellence Food Allergy Advisory Group.

“There is an urgent, unmet need to find a remission treatment for peanut allergy,” she said. Currently, the only approved peanut allergy treatment offers temporary protection. Patients must stay on daily maintenance dosing indefinitely while also continuing to strictly avoid peanut, which brings added burden for children and families.

Professor North said MCRI is the headquarters of both the federal government funded National Allergy Centre of Excellence, and the NHMRC-funded Centre for Food Allergy Research, both led by Professor Perrett.

"This year, the NACE established a Clinical Trials Network to fast-track the start-up of allergy trials in Australia, giving families greater access to prevention and treatment options," she said.

Read more on the Murdoch Children's Research Institute website.

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