RBWH bringing care closer to home for prostate cancer patients
An Australian-first trial underway in Brisbane is aiming to better detect prostate cancer and revolutionise care for thousands of Queenslanders diagnosed each year.
Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles said world leading experts at RBWH have created a new tracer used in PET scans to better identify prostate cancer using the latest technology.
“Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer in Queensland men with 3,900 new patients being diagnosed each year,” Mr Miles said.
“We know appropriate management is key to survival, and access is key to that. If this 50-person trial is successful, the unique tracer will be available to facilities throughout the state for the first time.”
Mr Miles said RBWH is one of only a few public institutions in Queensland with a cyclotron, and one of two in the country TGA certified to produce radiopharmaceuticals like tracers.
Tracers like the one developed at RBWH bond to a disease process inside the body. The PET scanner sees where the tracer is concentrated, and creates images for the doctors to read.
“Up until now, it has been impossible to ship a PSMA tracer long distances because traditional PSMA tracers don’t have the half-life to travel,” Mr Miles said.
“The new tracer has a different compound, so it can be shipped as far north as Cairns, meaning patients will no longer need to travel to Brisbane and can have access to care closer to home.”
RBWH’s Radiopharmaceutical Centre of Excellence (Q-TRaCE) Manager Dr Marissa Bartlett said the new tracer was made of different materials than those currently in use, allowing for transit around the state for the first time.
“We supply four different PET radiopharmaceuticals across five Queensland Health hospitals. However, we couldn’t previously transport PSMA tracers to other sites in time—but this one is special,” Dr Bartlett said.
“We believe it will also be better at picking up recurring prostate cancers and identifying where, and if, the cancer has spread.
“We think this will eventually have broader implications for those with prostate cancer all over the country.”
Q-TRaCE also supports more future discoveries through the supply of radiopharmaceuticals to research institutes such as HIRF (Herston Imaging Research Facility).