Melbourne cancer centre to be home of ‘revolutionary’ immunotherapy lab

Melbourne will be home to the largest cancer immunotherapy laboratory in the southern hemisphere, with the state-of-the art facility to open at Victoria’s new cancer centre.

Immunotherapy treatment is described as being the biggest breakthrough in cancer therapy in more than 50 years.

The announcement coincides with a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden this weekend to officially open the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessey said the treatment was already “revolutionising” cancer care.

“It’s one of the areas that we expect the next great breakthrough when it comes to cancer treatment to come from,” Ms Hennessey said.

“[The research centre] will bring together the brightest minds from Peter McCallum, The Doherty Institute and the University of Melbourne that will be able to accelerate our research in this field.

“It will also give us the largest research labs in the southern hemisphere, making us one of the top 10 cancer centres in the world.”

Ms Hennessey said the centre was “the jewel in the crown of healthcare”, which was part of the global push to find a cure for the disease.

“Vice President Biden leads that initiative, he’s been personally touched by cancer, having lost his son, and very excited by the work being done here in Victoria,” she said.

“All of the activities [at the centre] are going to be aimed at bringing together research, aligning those with clinical trials, and ensuring that we really accelerate, and put the pedal to the metal, when it comes to getting better treatment and better cures.”

Mr Biden will arrive in Melbourne on Saturday night. He will open the centre on Sunday morning before attending the AFL match between Carlton and West Coast at the MCG.

He will also meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during the visit.