The therapy called Rhenium-SCT uses a resin paste containing radioactive particles to kill non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma.
Small published studies overseas have shown the therapy to be effective and well-tolerated but more evidence is needed.
“The Rhenium-SCT has advantages in that it’s a single treatment that is painless with a really good cosmetic outcome,” said Dr Sam Vohra, OncoBeta Australia Medical Director.
GenesisCare’s Radiation Oncologist Associate Professor Sid Baxi treated the first patients in the study.
“This is particularly useful for thin skin cancers, around three millimetres in-depth,” he said.
“We’re looking at an approximate 90 percent clearance rate.”
He said about 500 patients around the world have already received the therapy with a follow-up of about two years.
The latest trial will shed more light on its effectiveness, the side-effect profile and the patient’s quality of life.
“It just sounded amazing to be able to cure it without having to be cut, chopped and sewn,” she said.
“It was really easy, it didn’t hurt at all.”
Jan wanted to avoid having a surgical graft after a basal cell carcinoma developed inside her ear.
She has had about ten skin cancers removed in the past, including major surgery on her nose which took weeks to heal.
“It’s invasive, painful and takes a long time to recover,” she said.
The German-based innovators have partnered with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation to manufacture and deliver the radioactive particles at Lucas Heights.
“Because Rhenium itself lasts such a short time, it only lasts for 17 hours so local manufacturing is very very important,” said Ken Rikard-Bell, OncoBeta Australia Manager.