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WA-first: Perth man first in state to receive innovative cancer treatment

WA-first: Perth man first in state to receive innovative cancer treatment

Perth, Western Australia – Perth resident and construction worker, Clive (67), has become the first person in Western Australia to receive highly targeted cancer therapy using an MR-Linac at the new $17 million integrated cancer centre at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.

Combining an MRI imaging scanner with a linear accelerator, GenesisCare’s MR-Linac at Murdoch, the first of its kind in Western Australia, allows radiation oncologists to visualise tumours and adapt treatment in real time, minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Local Perth construction worker and music enthusiast, Clive (67) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2021 after his GP found he had elevated PSA levels during a general health check. “Initially I was recommended surgery to remove the entire prostate, which naturally, did scare me a bit. I didn’t feel like surgery was the best treatment option for me personally so I decided to seek a second opinion,” Clive said. “After speaking with Dr Lim and the GenesisCare team, I learnt about this new radiation therapy technology which would avoid surgery altogether. I just remember feeling like a weight was lifting off my chest knowing I was in the right hands. “I feel incredibly lucky to be the first to access this treatment and feel it has given me my life back. I’m glad it will be available for other men in Western Australia,” said Clive.

The Elekta Unity MR-Linac is the latest advancement in stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), a highly accurate, non-invasive type of radiation therapy which can reduce the number of visits required for treatment. SBRT is delivered in five or less sessions, compared to the 20-40 sessions required with conventional radiation therapy.1-3 According to GenesisCare Radiation Oncologist, Dr Hendrick Tan, the new treatment technology is a game-changer for West Australian cancer patients. “The Elekta Unity MR-Linac is a significant step forward for patients with complex cancers, as it enables clinicians to visualise the tumour during treatment and adapt to changes in tumour size and location.4-6 This is known as adaptive planning and allows us to target cancer more precisely and deliver highly personalised therapy each time a patient is treated.

“Many tumours are located in organs that move during or between radiation treatment sessions. Tumours can also be located near sensitive organs or tissues, such as the bladder or bowel, so we need to precisely deliver radiation within millimetres to target the tumour and not the surrounding healthy tissue. “This adaptive approach to radiation therapy may also result in reduced treatment-related side effects4-6, less treatment sessions and fewer visits to the hospital, thereby reducing the overall burden on patients.” Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men in Western Australia. In 2017, 2093 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The chances of getting prostate cancer by the time a man is aged 75 (lifetime risk) is 1 in 8.7

GenesisCare Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director of the new Murdoch facility, Dr Tee Lim, said the technology will help expand treatment options and the quality of life for people living with cancer across the state. “GenesisCare is delighted to be at the forefront of adaptive radiation therapy in Western Australia and we expect to see patients travelling to our centre from metropolitan and regional Western Australia, as well as from South Australia and the Northern Territory, to access this innovative treatment. “Our wonderful clinicians and team members at our centre at Murdoch are passionate innovators and researchers, and this system will enable them to improve outcomes for patients beyond what was possible before,” said Dr Lim.

As part of a strategic partnership between GenesisCare and Elekta, the new treatment team at Murdoch will participate in ADAPT-MRL8, a long-term prospective and retrospective registry which will collect real world evidence from patients who have received treatment on the MR-Linac.

“The registry is part of a global research partnership between Elekta and GenesisCare to promote the ongoing clinical development of adaptive therapy,” said Dr Lim.

Ben Edwards, CEO of St John of God Murdoch Hospital congratulated GenesisCare on delivering its first treatment using the MR-Linac and said having leading edge cancer therapy options such as the MR-Linac “right next door” is ideal for many of the Hospital’s patients.

“We have a direct linking corridor from our inpatient cancer ward to GenesisCare, and palliative care services in our Murdoch Community Hospice are just a cross-walk away.

“Having our services co-located means patients receive treatment quickly when needed and there’s less travel time, which takes some of the physical and emotional burden off patients and their loved ones.”

In addition to the MR-Linac technology, the new cancer centre at Murdoch will offer ground-breaking theranostics and nuclear medicine services and will house the latest molecular imaging equipment, including a PET-CT scanner, critical for directing and monitoring new targeted molecular therapies. The integrated cancer centre, which first opened its doors in December 2021, has the capacity to treat up to 1,000 cancer patients each year. Private health insurance is not required for radiation therapy and Medicare reimburses between 80 and 90 per cent of the cost of treatment.

References:

1. Menten, M.J., A. Wetscherek, and M.F. Fast, MRI-guided lung SBRT: Present and future developments. Phys Med, 2017. 44: p. 139-149.

2. American Cancer Society. Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer. 2019 June 2020]; Available from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/treating/radiation-therapy.html.

3. Prostate Cancer Foundation. Radiation for Prostate Cancer. July 2020]; Available from: https://www.pcf.org/about-prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-treatment/radiation-prostate-cancer/

4. Bertelsen, A.S., et al., First clinical experiences with a high field 1.5 T MR linac. Acta Oncol, 2019. 58(10): p. 1352-1357.

5. Kerkmeijer, L.G., et al., The MRI-Linear Accelerator Consortium: Evidence-Based Clinical Introduction of an Innovation in Radiation Oncology Connecting Researchers, Methodology, Data Collection, Quality Assurance, and Technical Development. Front Oncol, 2016. 6: p. 215.

6. Hall, W.A., et al., The transformation of radiation oncology using real-time magnetic resonance guidance: A review. Eur J Cancer, 2019. 122: p. 42-52.

7. Department of Health. (2020). Cancer incidence, mortality and survival in Western Australia, 2017. Information and Performance Governance Directorate. Department of Health, Perth. Statistical Series Number 112. Available from: ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/U_Z/Western-Australian-Cancer-Registry-Statistics

8. De Leon, J et al. Clin.Transl.Radiant Oncol.,2021;Vol 31, p 64-70.