New Bragg Comprehensive Cancer Centre to save lives

05 May 2022
New Bragg Comprehensive Cancer Centre to save lives

The Federal Liberal Government has pledged $77 million to create a landmark cancer facility in Adelaide. The commitment was quickly matched by the Labor party meaning the funding is essentially locked in regardless of who forms government after the May 21 election. 

The Bragg Comprehensive Cancer Centre (BCCC) will transform cancer research, care, support and preventative measures for South Australians and people everywhere.

In making the announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the BCCC will bring together SA’s leading cancer researchers, oncologists, nurses, carers and technologies.

“This facility will change the lives of people living with cancer,” he said.

““We can help them with new treatments and new research that will give them more time with their loved ones, and even help them beat cancer.”

The BCCC is a broad collaboration guided by the Adelaide Health Innovation Partnership and encompassing the breadth of South Australia’s cancer expertise. It’s principal partners are SAHMRI, the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, Women’s and Children’s Health Network and the University of Adelaide.

SAHMRI Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh, says the advantages of dynamic collaborations are there for all to see.

“We see it at SAHMRI, where a breakthrough by our prostate cancer group can inspire a lightbulb moment in our acute lymphoblastic leukaemia team; or an incidental discussion between a chronic myeloid leukamia researcher and a bioinformatician can deliver a leap forward in research that improves health and health care for people with cancer.

“On a larger scale, you only have to look to the Victoria Comprehensive Cancer Centre to see how patient treatment and care is accelerated by the collaborative focus of cross-discipline teams.

“With this investment from the Federal Government, we can take giant steps towards capitalising on the collective knowledge and skills of our cancer research community on a national level, with a network of comprehensive cancer centres that drive each other to deliver for the communities we serve.”

Senators Anne Ruston and Simon Birmingham visit SAHMRI's Cancer Lab yesterday after the announcement

Once operational, the BCCC is expected to save up to 2000 lives per year through prevention, early detection and better treatment of cancers.

The centre will also save the health budget up to $90m per year through reduced health care costs related to cancer.

Professor Benjamin Kile, Dean of Health at the University of Adelaide, said the centre will bring SA into line with the world’s best practise for the development and delivery of cancer treatment.

“Expanding and upskilling our cancer health workforce is critically important to South Australia, and the BCCC will deliver that to the State,” he said.

View the Australian Bragg Centre construction timelapse

The BCCC will be co-located with the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research in the building that is currently under construction adjacent to SAHMRI’s disctinctive headquarters on North Terrace, Adelaide.

“This proton therapy unit is at the cutting edge of cancer treatment,” Professor Wesselingh said.

“This is the first proton therapy unit in Australia and the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and will deliver precise, non-invasive radiotherapy that can destroy cancer cells while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissue including vital organs. This makes it particularly effective for treating tumours in children, adolescents and young adults who are still growing.”

CALHN CEO Lesley Dwyer says combining SA’s best cancer researchers and clinicians with the most advanced cancer treatment technology makes sense.

“The BCCC is what being world class is all about,” she said.

“I’m really excited about this. It’ something we and our partners across the Adelaide BioMed City precinct have been working to make a reality for some time.

“We look forward to establishing this centre to offer better treatment options and deliver better outcomes for the South Australian community.”

The funding, to be delivered over five years, will fund the establishment and initial operations of the BCCC.

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