Saturday, June 15, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Australian doctor remains cancer free following his own treatment

  • Prof Richard Scolyer’s latest MRI scan revealed no recurrence of the tumor
  • This case marks a significant milestone in glioblastoma treatment
Update : 14 May 2024, 05:02 PM

In a groundbreaking development in cancer treatment, an Australian doctor remains cancer-free a year after undergoing an experimental therapy based on his own pioneering research.

Professor Richard Scolyer is a senior staff specialist in tissue pathology and diagnostic oncology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, serves as co-medical director at the Melanoma Institute Australia, as well as a Conjoint professor at the University of Sydney.

At age 57, he was diagnosed with incurable grade 4 brain cancer known as “glioblastoma” last June. Glioblastoma can form in the spinal cord, or like in this case, the brain. It starts as a growth of cells and then can invade and destroy healthy tissues. It is an extremely aggressive and dangerous form of cancer.

The survival rate for this illness is reported to be very low. On average, patients diagnosed with glioblastoma have a survival period of 12 to 18 months, with just 25% living beyond one year, and a mere 5% surviving beyond five years.

Determined to fight against what he termed “certain death,” he bravely volunteered to become a “guinea pig” for an immunotherapy treatment which stemmed from his work on melanoma.

After a year, his latest MRI scan revealed no recurrence of the tumor, marking a milestone in his journey towards recovery. Professor Scolyer took to X, stating, “I couldn’t be happier!!!!! Thank you to the fabulous team looking after me so well, especially my wife Katie & wonderful family!”

Professor Scolyer worked alongside Professor Georgina Long, who is also a co-director at the Melanoma Institute Australia, for the treatment.

The team used an approach that involved a combination of pre-surgery immunotherapy, previously not used in glioblastoma treatment. According to reports from the BBC, Professor Scolyer made history as the first brain cancer patient to receive a combination of immunotherapy before undergoing surgery.

Professors Scolyer and Long have previously acknowledged that the chances of a cure are “minuscule.” However, they remain optimistic that the experimental treatment will extend Professor Scolyer’s life and eventually lead to clinical trials for glioblastoma patients.

The results achieved thus far are extremely promising for the medical community, offering a glimmer of hope to the approximately 300,000 individuals diagnosed with brain cancer globally each year.

Both Professor Scolyer and Professor Long were awarded the title of “Australian of the Year” in 2024 for their groundbreaking work on melanoma treatments.

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