Q&A with Anne Woollett, Clinical Trials Director, TrialHub, Alfred Health

March 11, 2021

Alfred Health is working with partners from outer metro, rural and regional hospitals to deliver more access to high quality cancer clinical trials. To find out more about this collaborative approach, and how your health service can get involved, we spoke with Alfred Health’s Anne Woollett who is the Clinical Trials Director for TrialHub.

What is TrialHub?

TrialHub is new initiative that was established to facilitate the equitable access to high quality cancer clinical trials by partnering with outer metro, rural and regional hospitals. We are based within The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne and are also here to support the clinical trials unit at Alfred Health.

Why was TrialHub established?

Patients with poor access to clinical trial programs don’t always gain early access to breakthroughs in medical treatment and it’s time to change that.
The federal government saw a need to have more clinical trials in outer metro, regional and rural hospitals. We’ve been funded to partner with hospitals to support them in developing long-term, sustainable clinical trial units in their region.

What is the role of TrialHub within Alfred Health?

While TrialHub is focussed on supporting long-term, sustainable clinical trial units in regional Victoria, we also support the clinical trials unit at Alfred Health. We have one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the country, currently we have more than 300 open clinical trials across 14 disease disciplines.

Our role is to identify opportunities and gaps that will further enhance the already outstanding clinical excellence here and to increase clinical trial accessibility to patients.

Where are you currently at with the initiative?

We have formed  great partnerships with La Trobe Regional Hospital, Bendigo Health, and Peninsula Health (Rosebud Hospital) with further regional hospitals in the pipeline to join. The teams are working collaboratively to identify gaps and opportunities, which includes workforce development, training and mentoring for staff interested in building their expertise in clinical trials without relocating to a city hospital. We should be ready to start our first regional trials very soon!

What trials will you support in the regions?

TrialHub’s focus is melanoma, prostate and rare cancer trials as specified by the federal government. But all going well, we will look to expand into other disease trials to bring even more Alfred Health trials out to the regions.

What are the benefits to patients?

Patients with poor access to clinical trial programs don’t always gain early access to breakthroughs in medical treatment that can be life-saving, because of where they live, and these partnerships are making the much-needed steps to rectify this.

Where can we find out more?

Head to our website (https://www.alfredhealth.org.au/research/trialhub). We will continue to update the website as we achieve more outcomes and as trials start. I’d encourage clinicians and patients to head to this website to see all of our open trials we’ve now listed on a platform called ClinTrial Refer, making it much easier to find our 300 open trials.