Rare cancers

Rare cancers contribute to more deaths than any other single type of cancer. Around 30% of Australians dying of cancer will die of a rare cancer. Despite their significant impact, these devastating cancers remain largely unknown and understudied.


Our research is focused on developing new ways to diagnose and treat rare cancers to improve the outcomes for people affected.

Our research

Our rare cancer research efforts are focused on:

  • identifying which existing anti-cancer treatments best prevent or slow the progression of rare cancers, matching targeted therapy to rare cancer gene changes, wherever possible
  • using state-of-the-art technologies to better understand the genes that drive rare cancers
  • accelerating progress by being a part of international initiatives that facilitate clinical trials for patients. These give our researchers access to samples of rare cancers from around the world, fast-tracking new treatments.
  • partnering with leading research, academic and clinical institutions, to help produce better outcomes for people affected by rare cancers.

Our research efforts are aided by:

  • collaboration with the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, an alliance of leading Victorian hospitals and research centres committed to tackling cancer
  • our partnership with the Australian Rare Cancer (ARC) Portal and CART-WHEEL (Centre for Analysis of Rare Tumours), online rare cancer resources, supported by BioGrid Australia, which allows people with rare cancers to access speciality information via their specialist about their case and to contribute to research
  • participation in The International Rare Cancer Initiative.

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Illuminate Autumn 2024
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