Together, we’re making a generational impact on cancer.

Thanks to our generous supporters, we’ve made extraordinary progress in our work to tackle cancer to date.

Today, over 70% of people diagnosed with cancer in NSW live for five years or more past a diagnosis. In 1980, this figure was around 50%.

In 2022/23, we achieved some significant milestones to reduce the impact of cancer for generations to come.

Acting on vaping and tobacco use

Translating research into policy and saving lives

A young woman sits in a waiting room

In 2023, our Generation Vape research project* culminated in an incredible advocacy win: The Australian federal government announced decisive action on vaping, with new policies to safeguard our tobacco control success and stop a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.

The importation ban on single-use vapes will come into effect on 1 January 2024 with further changes to follow from 1 March 2024.

The new policies include stopping the importation of non-prescription e-cigarettes at our borders, banning single-use vapes, introducing pharmaceutical-like packaging and reducing allowable nicotine contents.

In May 2023, we also welcomed the federal government’s new National Tobacco Strategy (2023-2030), which plots a new path to reduce smoking in Australia to below 10% by 2025 and below 5% by 2030.

This new strategy reflects the hard work across research, policy and advocacy from across Cancer Councils over many years.

In 2022/23, we were grateful to receive a generous grant of $950,000 from nib foundation to scope, pilot, develop and evaluate a new online tool to help young people aged 14-24 quit vaping in Australia – the first to specifically target this age group.

Young people who vape are around three times as likely to take up smoking than those who don’t vape. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in our community, causing at least 16 types of cancer and 20% of cancer deaths in NSW.

Join the movement to take action on e-cigarettes.

Paving the way to tackle liver cancer

In 2023, Cancer Council NSW-funded research played a pivotal role in the delivery of Australia’s first Roadmap to Liver Cancer Control.

This new Roadmap is very much needed, as the liver cancer death rate has increased 80% in the past 20 years alone.

Daffodil Centre* researchers led on developing best-practice clinical guidelines for the Roadmap, which will help clinicians identify and manage people at increased risk of liver cancer.

“If we can identify individuals affected and take a consistent, evidence-based approach to surveillance, treatment and care, we can in many cases stop liver cancer developing,” says Professor George, who co-led the creation of the Roadmap.

The multidisciplinary expert group for the new Roadmap was co-chaired by Dr Nicole Allard, a GP specialising in hepatitis control, and Professor Jacob George, a hepatologist and longstanding Cancer Council NSW research partner.

Read more about Professor Jacob George’s work with Cancer Council NSW.

Looking ahead, the challenge is now to ensure the Roadmap is implemented into standard practice across the country.

Professor George says that “after 50 years of liver cancer rates steadily increasing, this is our best opportunity to turn things around – and address one of the worst causes of inequity in cancer outcomes in Australia.”

Researching new ways to treat liver cancer

Click each profile below to get a brief insight into the research our donors have funded.

Artificial intelligence

Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, in this project Dr Booth and his team will implement “beam’s-eye-view” tracking technology during radiation treatment for prostate, liver and pancreas cancer patients.

With beam’s-eye-view tracking, the cancer is tracked at all time during radiation therapy treatment, ensuring high accuracy and high precision treatment.

For the patients, this means their cancer is hit and destroyed while their healthy tissue and organs are protected from damage.

Targeting the liver

In this project, Professor Leedman and his team will investigate a new treatment approach that combines a new drug delivery method capable of specifically targeting the liver, with a new anticancer drug shown to ‘switch off’ cancer cells.

Once this new treatment has been developed the team will test their approach in pre-clinical models in the lab.

They’ll then conduct further pre-clinical tests to see how effective this new treatment is when combined with existing liver cancer treatments.

Artificial intelligence

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer and it is the sixth leading cause of cancer–related death in Australia. Once HCC has spread to other parts of the body, there are very few effective treatment options and the overall five-year survival rate is less than 20%.

Professor McCaughan’s team have developed two potential new treatments which target HCC cells, the surrounding blood vessels and the immune system within the tumour. In this project, the team will test these new therapies in combination with each other in pre-clinical models to identify the most effective way to target and kill HCC cells.

By targeting several different components of the tumour the team hope to maximise the effectiveness of the drugs they have developed. Using the expertise of his team, Professor McCaughan aims to translate the results from the laboratory into clinical trials, where they hope their new treatment approach will improve outcomes for patients with HCC, especially those with a poor prognosis.

Fighting drug resistance

Cells known as stem cells that exist within a liver cancer are known to play a key role in the progression of liver cancer and the development of resistance to drugs. But attempts to target and kill these stem cells have been disappointing.

This project focuses on using aptamer molecules, also known as chemical antibodies, to target liver cancer stem cells. Prof. George and his team have generated aptamers against two important surface markers that identify liver cancer stem cells. They have also shown these aptamers can be combined with a widely used anticancer drug to form a ‘therapeutic complex’.

*The Daffodil Centre is a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney.

Leading Australia towards lung cancer screening

For the past decade, Cancer Council NSW researchers (now part of the Daffodil Centre*) have led and partnered on pivotal research into the feasibility of lung cancer screening in Australia.

Our research reached a breakthrough in May 2023 when Mark Butler, the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, announced $263 million for a new national screening program for lung cancer, which is expected to be phased in from July 2025.

The Daffodil Centre’s independent research provided evidence to Australian government bodies that lung cancer screening would indeed be feasible and cost-effective in Australia.

It was a key factor for the government’s independent Medical Services Advisory Committee’s recommendation for the introduction of a screening program, following a deferred decision which sought additional evidence.

The new screening program has the potential to detect lung cancers earlier in people at high risk, when chances of survival are as high as 70%.

Currently, the majority of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a late or unknown stage, which is the main reason average five-year survival is only 22%.

The new program is expected to target people who are most at risk of lung cancer – those aged 50 to 70 with a history of heavy smoking.

*The Daffodil Centre is a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney.

Thank you for your ongoing support in 2022/23. Together, it’s all of us against cancer.

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