Action on complex childhood illnesses

Child in hospital. | Newsreel
A new centre has opened which provides ill children with cutting-edge care. | Photo: Kupicoo (iStock)

A new centre to support children with rare and complex illnesses has been opened.

The Queensland Children’s Hospital ACTION (Advanced therapies and Clinical Trials InnovatiON) Centre will give children living with rare diseases and complex illnesses safe and timely access to new and potentially life-changing treatments.

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said the centre aimed to significantly increase the number and range of clinical trials available to Queensland children and bring the latest advanced therapies to Queensland, as soon as they’re available

“About 400,000 Australian children currently live with a rare disease. One-third of these children will not live to see their fifth birthday,” Minister Fentiman said.

She said Children’s Health Queensland would leverage its unique position as the State’s dedicated specialist paediatric healthcare service to be a national and international leader in the adoption of advanced and innovative therapies in clinical practice, and the creation of new research knowledge to support this emerging field.

“Stage one of the ACTION Centre will build capacity and capability at the Queensland Children’s Hospital to support the delivery of advanced therapies and help attract global research partnerships to support the centre into the future.

“Rapidly evolving advanced therapies, such as gene therapy, cell therapy and tissue engineering, have the potential to provide cures or significantly improve the health of children with rare diseases and complex illnesses,“ Minister Fentiman said.

She said clinical trials of advanced therapies supported the translation of research into new standards of care.

“Some advanced therapy clinical trials are currently not available in Queensland, with families having to travel interstate or overseas to access these potentially life-saving treatments for their children.”