“I’ve been lucky enough to access a trial that has saved my life. But friends of mine diagnosed with different cancer types don’t get that chance because the research hasn’t caught up yet.”
At any one time, there are more than 100 clinical trials being undertaken by or in collaboration with our researchers and clinicians. Not only does this mean patients have more access to the latest therapies, it helps move us toward answers for treating the patients of tomorrow.
One such patient, is Anthony, a lighting director in the music industry. In 2018, he was rushed to the emergency department, with symptoms of a stroke.
His head scans revealed something that would change his life.
“The bottom of my CT scan caught the top of my lungs. There was a black spot, so they ordered a full lung scan,” Anthony tells me.
“The poor clinicians in the stroke ward had to give me the news – I had stage four lung cancer that had metastasized to my spine.”
After being referred to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Anthony’s medical oncologist, Dr Steven Kao, quickly placed him on a clinical trial for an immunotherapy drug. Immunotherapy is a treatment method that harnesses the power of Anthony’s own immune system to fight and destroy cancer cells.
Your support today enables us to find more effective treatments for patients like Anthony.
For Anthony, the results to date have been astounding.
“My tumour was extremely aggressive. Five weeks after my diagnosis, it had grown from the size of an apricot to the size of an apple.
“But after the first round of treatment, the tumour in my spine immediately began to shrink. Scans show that the drug is still working - my cancer is being annihilated by my immune system. It’s incredible.”
To date, this treatment type has reduced Anthony’s tumour by 98%.
Sadly, Dr Kao tells me, “Unfortunately, only around 50% of patients respond well to immunotherapy. For every story like Anthony’s, there’s another individual whose cancer doesn’t respond to the treatment. And we don’t yet know why.”
That’s why Dr Kao’s research is so important, we need to know why in order to improve outcomes for all patients. His research outcomes today can be put into practice immediately at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Every new treatment or therapy discovered means patients with cancer have more time with their loved one and have an improved quality of life.
“My personal experience has been nothing short of wonderful,” says Anthony. “I’ve been lucky enough to access a trial that has saved my life. But friends of mine diagnosed with different cancer types don’t get that chance because the research hasn’t caught up yet.”
We need your help to fund more research and save more lives.
Your donation today can help us improve outcomes for more patients like Anthony.
Your support can help us discover more innovative, targeted treatments that will improve outcomes for the 1 in 2 Australians diagnosed with cancer, both now and in the future.