Investing in Health

Priority Research Theme: Cancer

Reducing Risk, Improving Detection, Increasing Survival

Theme Leader: Professor Graham Mann

Sydney Medical School's leading clinicians are making outstanding progress in prevention and treatment of many forms of cancer, however, the disease remains a complex medical mystery. New discoveries about the way cancer cells work have accelerated, and so targeted treatments are no longer a hope for the future, but a reality. The cahllenge now is to build on the inspiring scientific and technological advances of the past decades and make the most of the exciting opportunities ahead.

Cancer researchers are a principal strength of Sydney Medical School and the University. They lead the Group of 8 universities both in total publication output and in citations.

The University's cancer research is innovative. It has led to world-leading advances in cancer prevention, improved treatment of melanoma, increased undesrtanding of telomere biology, and the supportive care of people living with cancer.

The most successful programs target the causes of cancer, including the impact of cancer-causing agents such as chemicals, radiation, viruses and human behaviour, and also the biological factors that can increase or reduce risk of cancer. Other areas of expertise in cancer research include healthcare delivery, education, and palliative care.

The School's exceptional researchers are at the forefront of new molecular-based techniques which are enabling earlier diagnosis, and opportunities for markedly improved treatment. Already impressive programs have been aided by the extraordinary advances in anatomic and molecular imaging, and in molecular biology, improved imaging and biopsy procedures are allowing our leading oncologists to identify features of individual cells, including genetic markers of cancer.

Thanks to this work, people with cancer are living for longer, and with a higher quality of life than ever before. Each achievement brings us closer to the eventual control of this devestating disease.

Funding Opportunity: New Hope for Prostate Cancer Patients Via More Accurate Radiation Therapy.

One way to improve the efficacy of radiation and lessen side effects is to find a way to target the treatment by using more accurate cancer imaging. Professor Paul Keall and his team have proposed a real-time tumor localisation method, in which the patient's 3D tumour position is continually refined. They have adapted state-of-the-art technologies to provide more detailed information about the exact location and shape of tumours receiving radiation therapy.

This study reports the first clinical implementation in patients with localised prostate cancer. Results demonstrate that it is a clinically viable and objective method for monitoring prostate motion during treatment. This trial only requires a single kv imager, which is commonly available, enabling its widespread and rapid implementation.

Costing:
Clinical trial $80,000 per year
Over two years: $160,000