From little things big things grow!

From little things big things grow: how $60k in donations started a $2.5 M dollar clinical trial

Sometimes people say, ‘I’d like to give but it probably won’t make a big difference.’ We always reply ‘every dollar counts’, for we know that individual donations can signal the beginning of important research projects, such as LACE.

The LACE clinical trial started because we received $60,000 in donations. We used the donations to employ a part-time research nurse and start recruiting patients. We collected data, presented the findings and then applied for competitive research funds. LACE is now an international, $2.5 million dollar trial, which has had a significant impact on gynaecological surgery in Australia and around the world.

From little things

LACE examined the surgical treatment of endometrial cancer via a laparoscopic (key-hole) hysterectomy versus the traditional, open abdominal approach. The new approach results in far less post-surgery complications and we estimate that the LACE trial will help prevent 100 surgical complications every year in Australia. In addition, laparoscopic hysterectomy saves 6,000 days spent in hospital for patients. Overall, this means better health outcomes for women, plus a cost saving of $4,000 per case to the health system.

LACE began in a small way in 2005 and by 2010 we had trained 27 gynaecological surgeons, screened 1,800 patients and sourced more funding. We had enrolled 760 women with endometrial cancer in this randomised trial across multiple sites in Australia and overseas.

Big things grow

Six years on, with extra funding, our follow-up has been completed and the final survival analysis is done. We can report that the survival rate is similar between the two treatment groups, indicating that laparoscopic hysterectomy should be the new treatment standard for endometrial cancer. This is a big win – not just for women with cancer, but also potentially for women who must undergo a hysterectomy for other reasons. It is also a big win for our health system.

If you’d like your donation to make a big difference then please visit our website or call us on (07) 3646 5486.

Last updated:
19 December 2016