Specialists deliver prostate cancer breakthrough
A breakthrough treatment for prostate cancer by Melbourne specialists has delivered "stunning" results.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has been running trials for the state-of-the-art method using radioactive molecules to detect and treat prostate cancer.
A world-leading centre to accelerate research and development of the theranostic treatment, which was funded by a $7.4 million donation from a Norwegian billionaire, will be officially opened at Peter Mac on Thursday.
Director of the new Prostate Theranostics & Imaging Centre of Excellence, Professor Michael Hofman, said that theranostic treatment was unique in using radioactive molecules for both imaging and treatment of cancer.
"First with a tracer to reveal the cancer's spread with a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and then with a radioactive molecule that kills cancer cells," he said.
Prof Hofman said clinical trials over the past four years had seen "stunning, life-extending results in patients with advanced disease, and who had exhausted all other treatment options".
"We have shown that it works very well at that end-of-life advanced stage, so we hope by bringing this treatment earlier we'll be able to have even better results," he said.
Great-grandfather Anton Vrljic, 69, said the treatment had turned his life around.
"I had felt like there was a heavy bag of cement in my bones, I never stopped working but I was feeling old and frail," he said.
"After a few months of treatment I felt 12 years younger, much lighter, it was like escaping from a death sentence."
Mr Vrljic, who manages a carton products factory in Campbellfield, will finish his last theranostic treatment session in two weeks, but still undergoes immunotherapy.
Peter Mac's theranostics centre was funded through a grant from the US-based Prostate Cancer Foundation, which used a donation from Norwegian billionaire Stein Erik Hagen.
The foundation's chief science officer Dr Howard Soule said the world-class group led by Prof Hofman had pioneered very encouraging therapy.
"We are confident that the Peter Mac team will develop life-extending and improving therapies for patients, globally, in the very near future," he said.
Foundation president Dr Jonathan Simons said that Mr Stein Erik Hagen was a generous philanthropist who had profoundly transformed the development of new avenues of prostate cancer treatment.
Originally published as Melbourne specialists deliver prostate cancer breakthrough