A National Centre for Infections in Cancer has been launched to ensure more patients can avoid picking up an infection that complicates their treatment and recovery. The NCIC, headed by Peter Mac’s Professor Monica Slavin, is a $2.5 million program of research focussed on reducing the incidence of infections in cancer patients.

Currently around 60 per cent of these patients, who typically have reduced immune system function as a side-effect of treatment, also require antibiotics due to an infection.

Treating these infections is a major of cause extended hospital stays, and they are known to account for almost half or premature deaths in cancer patients.

The NCIC brings together a multi-disciplinary team – including nurses, cancer specialists, pharmacists and health economists – to research and deliver strategies for the prevention and management of infections for this vulnerable patient group.

“This is about how we can improve patient outcomes – the things we can do in the healthcare system, the processes we can introduce and the health technologies we can introduce,” Prof Slavin says.

“It is one thing to have a really great technology but it is another thing to work out how it is going to be rolled out in our labs, and in our hospitals.”

The NCIC is a NHMRC funded Centre of Research Excellence with Prof Slavin as NCIC director and supported by Professor Karin Thursky and Associate Professor Leon Worth.

Participating organisations include the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Childrens Hospital, the Austin and Westmead hospitals, Queensland University of Technology, Monash University, Doherty and Burnet Institutes, and all major paediatric cancer centres.

The NCIC was officially launched by Victoria’s Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research the Hon. Frank McGuire during the NCIC’s Inaugural Symposium, in the VCCC building, on 11 August 2017.

Read more about the NCIC on their website or follow on Twitter (@NCICancer).