Cancer treatment pioneered being hailed a global lifesaver

Melbourne: A new, revolutionary cancer treatment pioneered in Melbourne could soon emerge as a global lifesaver.

More than 100 Victorians with inoperable liver cancer have successfully been treated with the SIRT (selective internal radiation therapy).

These treatments are part of a Melbourne-led international human trial of SIRT, used in conjunction with the chemotherapy drug sorafenib.

For the procedure, tiny radioactive beads - about one-third the width of a human hair - are injected into an artery near the groin.

Thereafter, the beads lodge in the liver releasing a radiation dose over a number of days, shrinking tumours.

A Victorian woman suffering from incurable liver cancer has undergone the therapy and associate Prof Peter Gibbs, a medical oncologist from the Royal Melbourne Hospital, believes she is cured.

"Her tumours slowly disappeared and she remains tumour free. I am convinced that she is cured," The Herald Sun quoted Prof Gibbs, as saying.

Prof Gibbs, who leads the world’s biggest clinical trial of the therapy, added that in about 5 per cent of patients tumours disappeared while in most others cases the treatment was prolonging lives.


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