Press Release – Health Research Council
Announced today by the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall and the Minister of Science and Innovation, Dr Wayne Mapp, the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and the Ministry of Health have made a joint commitment to co-invest in three new cancer research projects.
“These three projects are particularly significant because they specifically target reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and inequalities with respect to cancer,” says HRC Chief Executive, Dr Robin Olds.
Each year colorectal cancer (CRC) kills approximately 1,200 New Zealanders – more than breast and prostate cancer combined. Māori are more than twice as likely to die once diagnosed with colorectal cancer than New Zealand Europeans. The incidence and death rates from CRC in New Zealand are amongst the highest in the developed world. Differences in survival have also been suggested to occur in people living in rural areas of New Zealand. A research team led by Cancer Trials New Zealand (CTNZ) will conduct the largest and most comprehensive study of patient outcomes from colorectal cancer undertaken in New Zealand to date.
CTNZ Medical Director Professor Michael Findlay said: “New Zealand has amongst the worst outcomes for colorectal cancer in the developed world. If we are going to turn this around, we have to understand what is happening at the individual patient level.”
“Our project will examine patient characteristics, their cancers, the treatment they receive, and their outcomes and we hope this study will be a major step in helping improve the health care we deliver for people with colorectal cancer,” he says.
“This investment by the HRC and Ministry of Health recognises the importance of colorectal cancer in New Zealand and is a major step in the right direction,” he said.
An Internal Examination of Colorectal Cancer Management in New Zealand
Professor Michael Findlay, Auckland UniServices Limited, The University of Auckland
35 months, $1, 000, 000
Within New Zealand, the need has been identified for the delivery of innovative, coordinated, efficient and more effective palliative care for all population groups, and specifically for Māori.
Research into culturally appropriate end of life care for Māori will involve a partnership between the research team at Massey University, Palmerston North, and clinical partners at Arohanui Hospice, the National Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP) Office New Zealand, and Te Wakahuia o Manawatu Trust.
The LCP is an internationally adopted, multi-setting, evidence-based, integrated care tool for planning, decision-making, and documenting health care, which is now widely used throughout New Zealand.
“Clinicians around New Zealand have responded enthusiastically to the research, and in fact we have been overwhelmed by stakeholders wishing to participate,” says Dr Maureen Holdaway.
“We look forward to commencing the next phases of the research, working with Māori communities to envision culturally appropriate end of life care. It is great to work on a project where we can see that the knowledge gained can be immediately translated into clinical practice to improve quality of care,” she says.
Culturally appropriate end of life care for Māori
Dr Maureen Holdaway, Massey University, Palmerston North
36 months, $803, 763
Funding has been awarded to Professor Ross Lawrenson, based at the Waikato Clinical School, for research which will study the pathways of care following an abnormal PSA test for prostate cancer. The research team will investigate the complications of screening for prostate cancer, comparing Māori and non-Māori, and estimate the costs of care to individuals and the health service.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant. It has provided a real boost to the Midland Cancer Network, providing a focus for our urological cancer research,” says Professor Lawrenson.
“It also been a wonderful opportunity to involve general practitioners in a study of the cancer pathway and I believe is already demonstrating the value of closer relationships between GPs and specialists.”
“It has also allowed us to engage with Māori providers across the region and provided an opportunity for local Māori staff and researchers to take a leadership role and it has been a fantastic opportunity for intersectorial working that we are sure will provide sustainable benefits for the future,” he says.
The costs and complications of screening for prostate cancer
Professor Ross Lawrenson, Waikato Clinical School, The University of Auckland
36 months, $898, 500