Bridging the metropolitan-regional trials gap by 2025

ReViTALISE is a $18.6 million grant funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), under the Rural, Regional and Remote Clinical Trial Enabling Infrastructure Fund.

Running over 5 years, the ReViTALISE project administered by Border Medical Oncology Research Unit, working with the Regional Trials Network - Victoria (RTN-Vic).


Regional Victorian Trials Alliance: Linkages, Innovation, Special populations, Equity (ReViTALISE) 

Our Goal: 

To provide better cancer outcomes for regional patients and to bridge the metro-regional trials gap by 2025.

The aims of the ReViTALISE project are to:

  • Provide equal access to high-quality cancer care for regional and rural Victorians, leading to better health outcomes.
  • Bridge the metropolitan-regional trials gap by 2025, bringing the regional participation rates in line with metropolitan rates.
  • Improve cancer outcomes for Regional Victorians by increasing regional trial participation rates.

The initatives imbedded in the ReViTALISE project are aimed at addressing areas that will have the greatest impact on increasing clinical trial participation in the regions, from supporting new or fledgling regional sites to build capability and capacity, increasing clinical trial activity in areas of unmet need, to providing a regional workforce with the skills required to participate and create their own research.

The ReViTALISE project builds on the success of the Regional Trials Network - Victoria (RTN-Vic) project. In 2017, of the 1587 Victorian cancer clinical trial patients, only 27% of those were rural residents, and of those, only 81 patients participated at a rural site (based on 2017 Cancer Council Victoria Clinical Trial Management System).

The ReViTALISE project is designed to address the disparity in cancer care in regional Victorian populations, particularly in their access to cutting edge clinical research, by focusing on the following key areas:

  • Expanding the existing Research Trial Network from 6 sites to 8, servicing the Mallee and Gippsland regions.
  • Pallative & Supportive Care research programs to improve patient outcomes.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Clinical Trial Access Programs.
  • Immunotherapy Trials and education into immunotherapy treatment.
  • Registry Trials to collect data from our specific patient populations to identify future research and treatment needs.
  • Geriatric Oncology, meeting the needs of the aging regional population.
  • Establishing a Regional Research Teaching Hub to support staff in the upskilling required to conduct meaningful research in regional and rural settings.

Our Project Team

The ReViTALISE project spans Rural and Regional Victoria, from the far West of Mildura and the Mallee, South to Warnnambool and East across to Gippsland, with each initative managed by the the ReViTALISE team within Border Medical Oncology Research Unit.

To get in touch with the ReViTALISE project, you can reach us at:

Regional Onocology Lead

Assoc Prof Craig Underhill

Senior Project Advisor

Suiyin Cheah

ReViTALISE Business Manager 

Fiona Tuthill

REVITALISE Project Officer

Christie Hamilton


Donna Long

REVITALISE Project Officer

Damon Parker

The ReViTALISE consumer advisory group was created by one of the ReViTALISE consumers to support and empower the regional consumers involved in the ReViTALISE Initiatives.  

This group facilitates information sessions of the projects Initiatives and empowers consumers to actively contribute to the ReViTALISE project by providing direct advice to the Initiatives.

The ReViTALISE Initatives

ReViTALISE aims to address the specific needs of regional and rural Victorians, across a variety of different initiatives, each led by a Regional Victorian Health Service.

Expand Regional Trials Network  - Led by Latrobe Regional Health & Mildura Base Hospital

Increase the Regional Trials Network (RTN).

Prior to the RTN, there were vast populations of regional Victorians not served by centres able to conduct research.

ReViTALISE aims to assist Mildura Base Hospital and Latrobe Regional Health to build both capability and capacity, by leveraging mentorship from other regional network member sites, ultimately delivering research to under-served Victorians.

The Expand initiative will allow Victorians in the Mallee, Wimmera Southern Mallee and Gippsland regions to access cancer research without travelling from their area health services.

Pallative & Supportive Care - Led by Barwon Health and South West Healthcare, Warnnambool & University of Melbourne

Increase the number of pallative and supportive care trials in regional areas and increase trials in regional sites.

Regional palliative patients and those needing supportive care have additional challenges in the management of their care.  

The Pallative & Supportive Care initiative sets out to increase the number of pallative and supportive care patients participating in clinical trials in their regional areas.

The initiative also aims to increase awareness and participation in clinical research across the palliative care workforce.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Clinical Trial Access Initiative - Led by Goulburn Valley Health Shepparton

Co-designing a pilot with consumers, local health groups and researchers to increase cancer clinical trial participation among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The implementation of the Clinical Trials component of the Optimal Care Pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Cancer represents a potential major shift in heath outcomes for our community.

Successful completion of this initiative will result in a completed pilot at Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton, along with long term sustainability plans for bridging the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Immunotherapy Trials - Led by Bendigo Regional Cancer Centre & Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre

Increase regional trial participation in immunotherapy, and increase knowledge of side effects across regional workforce.

Immunotherapy is a cutting edge cancer treatment that uses our immune system to fight cancer. It works by helping the immune system recognise and attack cancer cells. 

Providing access to immunotherpy research, especially in cancers newer to immunotherapy interventions, represents a great potential improvement in health outcomes for regional Victorians.

Registry Trials - Led by Grampians Health Ballarat & Walter & Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) 

Increase number of trials at regional sites, increase engagment of regional clinicians in clinical trial design. 

The primary purpose of registry trials is to better understand long term trends in specific patient populations.  Gathering registry data from regional populations is a foundational step in ensuring that treatment is tailored to our specific patients, and not generalised from data gathered in city centres.

The Registry trial initialtive is the first step in understanding how our populations may be similar or different to those with similar diagnoses in city centres.

Geriatric Oncology - Led by Border Medical Oncology Research Unit & LaTrobe University Wodonga

To Improve access among older adults to participate in oncology clinical trials, and to build capacity to conduct geriatric oncology clincal trials.

Successful care of older adults requires a multidiciplinary approach across community, primary, secondary and tertiary care providers.  

The Geriatric Oncology initiative sets out to train, mentor and recruit those providers to assist and participate in geriatric oncology trials across regional, rural and remote Victoria.

Regional Research Teaching Hub -  Co-Led By Border Medical Oncology Research Unit & Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

The Regional Research Teaching Hub (RRTH) is a network developed with and for regional health professionals.

It exists to:

  • Strengthen health services research capability and capacity across the regional cancer workforce, and
  • Improve access to health services research resources and training for regional health professionals to impact regional health outcomes

The RRTH has developed the @research website to support health services research in the regional healthcare community.