April 2021

Wanneroo local John Coccaro was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, back in 2006 and subsequently spent many years undertaking chemotherapy in hospital with mixed success, given the cancer returned several times.

But this week, Mr Coccaro will set off on a caravan adventure of a lifetime with his wife throughout the North of WA, having been given the all clear from any trace of the disease in his blood after participating in a world-first clinical trial for a drug aimed at treating his and similar cancers, known as lymphoproliferative disorders and lymphoma.

Mr Coccaro was the world’s first patient for the new clinical trial in 2020 offered through the Perth Blood Institute (PBI), which undertook 21 active clinical trials in total last year as part of its work to prevent, treat and cure blood disorders. 

“I can’t thank everyone at Perth Blood Institute enough,” says Mr Coccaro. “The care I have received under Professor Baker and his team has been excellent and has literally saved my life.”

Consultant Haematologist Professor Ross Baker, Founding Director of PBI, says the organisation has become a global hub for both blood disorder and malignancy trials, and is achieving outstanding results for patients.

“As a team, Perth Blood Institute is embracing literally dozens of opportunities to be a part of world first studies, which have the opportunity to present us with world-first results that will have a direct impact on those diagnosed with lymphoma and other blood diseases like Mr Coccaro’s,” he says.

“With continued financial support, we can equip our scientists to continue to develop world-class research into blood disorders and enable our clinical trials unit to continue to grow.”

The Perth Blood Institute will host a fundraising breakfast to raise funds for its clinical trials on 21 May from 7am - 9am at the University Club of Western Australia.  The fundraising event - aptly titled Another Bloody Breakfast - will include a panel discussion on the importance of clinical trials, moderated by media broadcaster and print journalist Christina Morrissy.

Significantly, the event is being held the day after International Clinical Trials Day - celebrated each year on May 20 - which aims to recognise those people involved in clinical trials and thank them for their contribution to improving public health globally.

PBI is a charitable, not-for-profit, haematological research institute. Based in West Perth, the organisation undertakes research into blood related disorders, delivers blood related clinical trials and provides an education service to the community and professionals on blood conditions.

The organisation is focused on providing outstanding patient care to people diagnosed with blood conditions – including blood cancers, bleeding and clotting disorders – through an ethical and sustainable approach.

ENDS

Media Contact: Ruth Gourley, Shine Communications, Mob: 0434 330 384