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New institute to revolutionise cancer imaging and targeted radiotherapy

23 November 2017
World-leading centre for medical innovation

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) Image X Institute, lead by Professor Paul Keall, will revolutionise medical imaging, transform targeted radiotherapy and enable global access to radiotherapy.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) Image X Institute, a world-leading centre for medical innovation, launches today at its University of Sydney headquarters at an event hosted by journalist and cancer survivor Julie McCrossin.

The work of the Institute will focus on creating new medical devices for cancer imaging and targeted radiotherapy. The Institute will provide a site and forum where academia, medicine, industry and government can advance the science and clinical practice of cancer treatment.

The ACRF Image X Institute will be led by Professors Paul Keall (University of Sydney), Michael Barton (Ingham Institute), and Associate Professor Michael Jackson (Prince of Wales Hospital), with a team of world renowned researchers and collaborators.

The Institute is funded by $2.5 million from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and a further $25 million in research support.

There are three main research nodes in New South Wales including the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre; Liverpool Hospital’s Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research; and Prince of Wales Hospital’s Nelune Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

“Our mission is to create, share and apply scientific knowledge to improve human health,” said Institute Director Professor Paul Keall, from Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney.

“We will revolutionise medical imaging, transform functionally targeted radiotherapy and enable global access to radiotherapy.

“With world class expertise in bench-to-bedside translational research, an entrepreneurial focus and cross-disciplinary collaborations, the Institute will attract top tier researchers with a track record of pioneering technology.”

The $2.5 million funding from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation is supporting three unique cancer imaging and targeted radiotherapy devices. These include an MRI-Linac, a real-time cancer imaging and targeted therapy system; the Nano-X, a smarter, smaller cancer radiotherapy system and a robotic imaging machine to advance patient connected imaging. These devices will increase cure rates and reduce the human and economic costs of treatment-related side effects.

“The ACRF Image X Institute has the potential to make significant advances in the delivery of radiation therapy worldwide,” said Professor Ian Brown CEO, Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

“Improvements in treatment accuracy will minimise harmful side effects and lead to improved patient outcomes. The development of new hardware will reduce the cost of equipment, giving more people, also in underserviced areas, access to treatment.

”ACRF is dedicated to funding innovative research in the pursuit of ways to prevent or more effectively treat cancer. The ACRF Image X Institute will have a worldwide impact and ACRF is proud to stimulate major advancements in radiotherapy.”  

The Institute currently has 270 papers published in top international journals, with six clinical world-firsts in research discoveries and technology, and 13 clinical trials taking place in Australian hospitals. There have been 25 commercial R&D projects, with 25 issued and filed patents, eight licenses issued and three spin off companies.

Cancer facts:

-        Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common.

-        With approximately 8.8 million deaths in 2015, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally with 24 million new cases expected by 2035.

-        Radiotherapy is indicated to treat half of all cancer patients.

-        The economic impact of cancer is significant and is increasing, estimated in 2010 at approximately US$ 1.16 trillion.

-        Around 70 per cent of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries (World Health Organisation)

Kobi Print

Media and PR Adviser (Health)