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Auckland clinical trials get a much-needed boost


Auckland clinical trials get a much-needed boost

Breast Cancer Foundation NZ is providing a boost to breast cancer clinical trials at Auckland City Hospital, funding trainee oncologist Dr Edmond Ang in the new role of BCFNZ Clinical Trials Fellow. Breast Cancer Foundation NZ has committed $160,000 to support the role over two years.

Dr Ang will divide his time between early-phase clinical trials of new drugs and later-phase trials, which can include new treatments and treatment pathways, or supportive care. He relishes the chance to turn research into something that directly benefits patients.

“We exist to journey with cancer patients and their families, to give hope along the way, and clinical trials can be an important part of that,” he said. “I’m humbled by the realisation that this position is funded by the efforts of Breast Cancer Foundation’s donors and volunteers. I want to honour the trust that has been given to me and make every dollar count.”

Dr Sheridan Wilson, clinical lead of the medical oncology breast team at Auckland DHB, said a Fellow role can make a huge difference to getting clinical trials up and running, and making sure that the right patients are referred into them. “This has been a dream of ours for a while now, and the funding from BCFNZ has made it possible. We were thrilled at the calibre of applicants, and we feel very lucky to have Edmond coming on board.”

The opportunity to be immersed in clinical trial research is a luxury for doctors, who are often overloaded in their daily medical practice, said Dr Ang, who is looking forward to learning and working with “a great team of like-minded clinicians in the Auckland DHB oncology service.” He will also have a research and teaching role within the Auckland University School of Medicine.

Evangelia Henderson, chief executive of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, said supporting clinical trials is a priority for the Foundation. “Clinical trials give patients access to new medicines and lead to advances in clinical practice. We want to do everything we can to increase the number of breast cancer trials around the country, and to ensure everyone gets equal access to them.”

She noted that fewer than 5% of breast cancer patients around NZ participate in clinical trials, a number that compares poorly with Australia and the UK.

Dr Ang is currently completing his first year of medical oncology specialist training at Palmerston North Hospital and will move to Auckland in December, along with his GP wife and two young children. He graduated with an Irish medical degree, and worked as a junior doctor in Malaysia, Ireland and Whangarei before moving to Palmerston North end of last year. In June 2018, he presented at ASCO, the world’s largest cancer conference, on the subject of individual and institutional kindness.


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