“From Lucas Heights to PeterMac, new prostate therapy is a game-changer”, The Age, 9 May 2018

9 May 2018

In 2017, The Eyre Peninsula Tribune reported “men living in the Franklin Harbour, Kimba and Cleve district councils had a 69% higher chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than the national average”.

Today Fairfax media outlets including The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Financial Review, have published a story on an experimental treatment, made possible by a radiopharmaceutical known as lutetium-177 (Lu-177), which is made at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights campus.

Today’s stories report that a proof-of-concept trial, the results of which are published in Lancet Oncology, has been hailed as a game-changer for people who have prostate cancer.

With respect to the story, Mark Moore, the General Manager of ANSTO Health, can be quoted on the following:

“ANSTO is the only manufacturer of Lutetium-177 (Lu-177) in Australia, which is produced in the OPAL multipurpose reactor, and is involved in the trial,” Mr Moore said.

“ANSTO is proud to support important trials like this one, and to partner with the wider clinical community to develop potential new treatment options.

“Using our OPAL multipurpose reactor, ANSTO produces a range of nuclear medicines used for diagnosis and treatment of a range of cancers, as well as heart, lung, liver and muscular-skeletal conditions.

“We are proud to be able to be provide Lu-177 for medical trial purposes.

“ANSTO has a commitment to delivering solutions that lead to improved health outcomes, a more sustainable environment and delivering solutions for our industries.”

Ashley ‘Moose’ Haywood, from Hawker, is a member of the Barndioota Consultative Committee and Economic Working Group, and has had prostate cancer.

“I’m a volunteer ambo driver, so I’m pretty use to rides in the rig, but it was a shock when I had to go to Port Augusta as the passenger instead of the driver,” said Moose.

“They took a sample from my prostate and 5 per cent came back positive for cancer – then after a detour through Port Augusta, I flew onto Adelaide for surgery where I got my prostate cancer diagnosis.

“The best option for me was removal because of my age, but for those whose course of treatment might involve nuclear medicine, the prospect of a new approach is really exciting.

“Through both my own cancer treatment and as a volunteer Ambulance driver, I have really started thinking about the link between nuclear medicine that can save people’s lives, and the national facility.

Moose is a supporter of the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, which is currently being considered at nearby Wallerberdina Station.

“When you think about the fact the waste that would be stored at the national facility comes from nuclear medicines that enable trials like this, the importance of the reactor is pretty clear in my mind,” he said.

Charlie Milton, 63, from Kimba, said he had a prostate cancer diagnosis using nuclear medicine, and he likes the prospect of a new nuclear medicine treatment.

“Nuclear medicine scans were used to diagnose my prostate cancer, and biopsies were used to confirm the diagnosis from about November last year,” Charlie said.

“I was one of the lucky ones where it was caught early and wholly related to the prostate. In February I got the whole prostate out, and now the scans and tests are coming back negative, which is a big relief.

“It was nuclear medicine that found my problems initially, and I think it’s great we are researching new treatments that might give other people some new hope as well.

“We have had three friends in Kimba who has had to have radiation therapy and other treatments, and I am sure that everyone would be happy that new medicines might one day be available.”

For more information on ANSTO, see www.ansto.gov.au.

For more information on the trial, see https://www.petermac.org/news/going-nuclear-combat-aggressive-prostate-cancer

ANSTO Media contact Phil McCall: T: +61 (0)2 9234 3822 M: +61 (0)438 619 987 E:pmccall@apa.net.au