Brisbane’s big breakthrough in brain cancer treatment


Brain tumors are the most common cancer diagnosis in Australians under the age of 40.

But the world-first clinical trial of a new treatment in Brisbane today has doctors hopeful for a cure.

Ria Bhagat reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Neurosurgeon David Walker knows first hand the devastation of brain cancer.

Prof David Walker, Neurosurgeon: “Well at the moment, most people with this cancer will probably die just over a year after their diagnosis and very few get to five years after.”

But at the Wesley Hospital this morning he delivered some good news.

Research from the Q-I-M-R Berghoff Institute has provided a new immunotherapy approach of T-cell injections where the patient’s own white blood cells are collected and then re-infused to target the cancer.

Forty-year-old Michael Oldano knew what his diagnosis meant.

Michael Oldano, Trial Patient: “Devastating is a word I suppose, but it takes so much more for it to settle in you realise, you know, the scope of what’s just happened to you.”

Mr Oldano is the first patient to trial the ground-breaking treatment and is counting on not being the last.

Michael Oldano, Trial Patient “So no matter what happens to me, no matter how long I go past this point it’s still been one of the best things that’s happened to me.”

More patients must undergo treatment before any conclusive findings but researchers are already considering immunotherapy approaches to other cancers.

Fifty thousand Australians will die from cancer this year but doctors are hopeful this treatment is a significant step towards a cure.

Ria Bhagat, QUT News.