One of those researchers set to call the $255 million research hub home is Professor Raymond Chan, internationally renowned cancer nurse leader, researcher and inaugural director of the Flinders Caring Futures Institute (CFI).
Prof Chan, an NHMRC Investigator Fellow and Matthew Flinders Fellow, and his Cancer Survivorship Team will relocate to the purpose-built research facility once construction is completed in mid-2024.
"The HMRB is a functional hub that is going to bring researchers from a diverse range of healthcare disciplines together to solve the most challenging health problems of today and tomorrow," he says.
"This will enable cross college multi-disciplinary research endeavours that will enhance our research activities, outcomes, impact, and overall competitiveness."
The Cancer Survivorship Team will bring with them a suite of impressive projects aimed at extending and improving quality of live for survivors of cancer, a disease that will directly affect one in two Australians by the age of 85.
Prof Chan, who joined the Flinders Caring Futures Institute in August 2021 from Queensland University of Technology, says the opportunity to be in the state-of-the-art HMRB will provide his team with the opportunity to maximise engagement with clinicians and the community.
“The opportunity to be located in a state-of-the-art research building means that we will have access to the latest purpose-build research spaces,” he says.
“Having clinicians and other cancer researchers in the same location means that we can interact with them daily. The best research ideas often come from the most organic corridor conversations.
“Our cancer survivorship work also has many synergistic opportunities with many medical disciplines, and the public health teams across the University.
"For example, as part of our clinical trials, we also have a strong program of research to look at the genomic basis of distressing cancer symptoms and unwanted treatment toxicities."
South Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) will be a key partner to the HMRB, enabling seamless clinical academic partnerships.
Prof Chan is currently leading three NHMRC/MRFF funded, multi-centre trials to transform follow-up cancer care models and systems.
The three grants – totalling $4.5 million – are aimed at developing and implementing a model of care to allow general practitioners (GPs) and other primary care providers (practice nurses and allied health professionals) to play a greater part in caring for cancer survivors.
Prof Chan says while cancer incidence rates are on the rise, so are rates of cancer survival, and with that comes an increased risk of long-term health issues and a range of chronic and comorbid conditions.
“The cancer system is close to tipping over,” he says. “The oncologists are trained to look after your cancer. It is often not their expertise to look after your heart health, hypertension, diabetes, your anxiety, social circumstances, which are very common medical issues facing cancer survivors.”
“Having the GP share the care with the oncologist means the cancer doctors can do what they’re best at, which is treat the cancer and the GP can treat those other things. It’s a person-centred approach that is focusing on the needs of the patient.”
The Cancer Survivorship Team within the Caring Futures Institute are now rolling out a shared model for breast and prostate cancer survivors in various states across the country.
“This transformation is paradigm shifting – enabling cancer care in primary care (delivered by GPs) – and will improve patient outcomes and system sustainability,” Prof Chan adds.
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