A WORLD-first trial in Ballarat to give cancer patients a better chance of survival is aiming to reach out to other patients.
The trial is being led by Professor George Kannourakis at St John of God’s Ballarat Cancer Research Centre.
“The trial is of a method to determine what drugs should be given to patients and what will have a better result for patients,” he said.
Professor Kannourakis said that, currently, people suffering from inoperable lung cancers often survive for only 15 to 18 months, but if this trial is successful, they will be able to improve that dramatically.
The trial involves testing with a biopsy on the tumour when it is first detected and matching drugs to the tumour in a laboratory.
Professor Kannourakis said that in future, doctors will be able to avoid a trial-and-error method of administering chemotherapy drugs for patients.
“It takes two months to assess how effective a drug is – if the drug is not beneficial by the time its effects are evident, we can see an impact on the length of survival for the patient,” he said.
“It’s an important trial because it isn’t anywhere else the world. This method has been researched but not published.”
Prof Kannourakis said he intends to publish a paper at the end of the trial so that the results can be noted and the method can be used worldwide
“We want to be able to tell through the laboratory the best possible chemotherapy for those patients.”
The world-first trial is already under way with eight patients. The goal is for 80 patients to be part of the trial before the results are published.
“Due to our preliminary work, it indicates that this will be a better choice for patients,” Prof Kannourakis said. “Even if we see an improvement of 15 per cent or 20 per cent, it will be the biggest advance in cancer in a long time.”