Cancer treatment trial is under way

KOGARAH oncologist Paul de Souza is leading a world-first trial into the safety of a new treatment for kidney cancer.

The trial of selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) could pave the way for an alternative to kidney removal and conventional radiation treatment.

SIRT involves sending radioactive material directly to the tumour via its blood supply and was developed in Australia to treat liver cancer.

It has so far helped reduce the size of tumours in some patients and could potentially suit people for whom removing the kidney is a less desirable option.

Victor Mallia, 68, of Alfords Point, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in October and was well enough to leave hospital within a day of the having SIRT.

He will undergo tests in three months to see if the tumour has shrunk.

‘‘The last option would have been to remove the kidney and just live with one,’’ Mr Mallia said. 

‘‘I was a bit apprehensive because [SIRT] is something new. 

‘‘Then I talked it over with my family and thought why not give it a go.’’

About 24 renal cancer patients who are not suitable for surgery or other conventional treatments are required in order to complete the trial.

Professor de Souza, who is based at St George Hospital and St George Private Hospital, said as the average age of renal cancer patients increased it made the potential for SIRT more relevant.

Kidney cancer (or renal cell carcinoma) is the eighth most common cancer in Australia. 

The kidneys remove waste from the blood and return cleaned blood to the body.

Participants: Julie Ward, 9598 5310.

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