The hopes of hundreds of South Australian lung and ovarian cancer sufferers and their families will be boosted by a world-first clinical trial of a potential breakthrough test developed by Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the $33 million investment in the local research was the largest commercial deal for Adelaide developed medical technology in 20 years.

“This partnership, driven by AusHealth, links RAH researchers with pharmaceutical investors, and will help to fast track bringing this important technology to patients,” Minister Wade said.

“This trial is the result of almost a decade of research and development at the RAH.

”The relatively new way to treat cancers has the potential to both improve treatment regimens and survival.

“This trial is fantastic news for South Australians with lung or ovarian cancer, but also a great accolade for our researchers who have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of those with cancer.”

Head of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, Professor Michael Brown, said the treatment involving APOMAB antibody technology has the potential to change the way solid cancers are treated and it’s hoped will lead to improvements in survival rates.

“The test uses antibodies that carry a low dose of radiation and target a specific protein that is created by dying or dead cancer cells,” Professor Brown said.

“The radiation signal is picked up on a PET scan, so we can see in patients who have received chemotherapy just how well the chemotherapy is killing the cancer cells.

“Our trial aims to test how well the antibodies can target specific cancer cells to deliver low dose radiation.

“If this works well, then in a separate trial we can test how well the antibodies, which carry a higher dose of radiation, can destroy the living cancer cells that surround the dead cancer cells targeted by radiation.

“This method has huge potential to change how we treat these cancers which, although partially killed by chemotherapy, have survival rates as low as 17 per cent.

“In the first instance we are trialling the test on lung and ovarian cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, but we believe this approach has the potential to boost the effectiveness of other cancer treatments.”

AusHealth, a profit-for-purpose company which supports the commercialisation of innovative medical technologies and invests funds back into research in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, is supporting the project.

AusHealth Managing Director and CEO, Greg Johansen, said the APOMAB technology will be trialled with patients at the RAH from next year.

“This is a world-class partnership which is the culmination of a decade of research and development by Professor Brown and his team,” Mr Johansen said.

“We look forward to the outcomes of the trial which will evaluate the success of targeted radiation delivery and has the potential to be a breakthrough treatment for solid cancers.”

Recruitment for the trial will begin in early 2020.

Originally published on the South Australian Premier's website: First trial of breakthrough cancer test