Cancer tumour research receives $4m grant

28 January 2010

A world leading researcher in the field of medical physics plans to continue his work on ways to more accurately and effectively target cancer tumours after receiving a four million dollar Australian Fellowship today.

Associate Professor Paul Keall, currently at Stanford University in the United States, intends to take up the five year position at the University of Sydney either later this year or early in 2011.

A/Professor Keall's work will benefit the more than 50 per cent of cancer patients who are treated for tumours by providing real-time information about the exact location and shape of tumours when they are receiving radiation therapy.

"Current radiation treatments don't take into account changes that can occur to the location and shape of tumours caused by things such as breathing and swallowing and other movement," A/Professor Keall said.

"By improving the way current tools of X-ray imaging and patient monitoring are integrated and used during treatment, we can target the tumour much more accurately with the radiation beam and have much greater control over the radiation dose.

"My research is also looking at the physiology of tumours, with the aim of making treatment more effective by targeting the areas of tumours which are more aggressive with additional radiation doses, thereby helping prevent the cancer spreading."

A/Professor Keall added that improving accuracy will also reduce the amount of normal tissue toxicity that occurs when areas outside the tumour inadvertently receive radiation.

The University of Sydney, and Sydney more generally, is developing into a hub of expertise in biomedical research, A/Professor Keall said.

He sees potential for collaboration with the strong medical physics program at the University of Sydney, as well as the new Comprehensive Cancer Centre, established in honour of leading cancer surgeon, the late Chris O'Brien, and Liverpool Hospital which is leading research into radiotherapy equipment.

"I'm looking forward to making an impact on healthcare in Australia and internationally," he said.

A/Professor Keall was one of just nine researchers to receive the prestigious Australian Fellowship. Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mark Butler announced the awards at the Monash University Clayton Campus today.

About Associate Professor Paul Keall
Originally from New Zealand, as a post graduate student A/Professor Keall specialised in medical physics at the University of Adelaide. He is currently with the Radiation Physics Division at Stanford University,

Media inquiries: Kath Kenny, 0434 605 100,