Breakthrough invention will reduce chemo hit-and-miss

Four years ago ACRF awarded $500,000 to a University of NSW research team led by Professor Philip Hogg at Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. The funding established the CCIA Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) Drug Discovery Program.

In 2007, Professor Hogg, a member of ACRF’s Medical Research Advisory Committee, developed technology that can indicate whether chemotherapy treatment is working in solid tumour cancers such as colon, bowel, breast, prostate and lung cancer.

“The ACRF state-of-the-art laboratory played a critical role in the development of an imaging agent which will show whether chemotherapy treatment is effective,” Prof. Hogg explained.

In explaining the potential impact of this major breakthrough, Prof. Hogg noted that 11 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed globally each year, with standard treatments being chemotherapy and radiotherapy and, if discovered early enough, surgery. There is currently no non-invasive way to measure death of cancer cells, he said.

“A major challenge facing doctors is being able to assess – in real time and after one or two treatments – whether a course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy is working or not,” Prof. Hogg said.

“With this new agent cancer patients will not have to waste time and edure the side-effects of an ineffective treatment.”