Cutting edge treatments for sarcoma patients


Sarcoma patients will benefit from cutting edge treatments thanks to a funding boost from the Federal Government.

The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, in Camperdown, NSW, received up to $6 million in extra funding in the April Budget.

Lifehouse CEO, Eileen Hannagan, said the funding announcement was “very exciting”.

“This will be great for our patients, most of whom are between the ages of 12 and 30,” she said.

“The funding allows us to progress limb replacement technology and titanium prosthetics, which are able to be fitted perfectly.

“Something like that can have huge impact on quality of life for our patients.”

Sarcoma is a tumour that occurs in bones and in soft tissue.

The $6 million granted by the health department will fund:

  • $1.5 million to purchase a Haptic Robot for sarcoma surgery. This advanced surgical technology minimises the impairment and disability that can follow sarcoma surgery, allowing surgeons to fit prostheses with unprecedented precision, spare limbs and improve the functionality of limbs in this young adult population.
  • $4.5 million to purchase a 3D titanium printer to advance the use of customised titanium implants in sarcoma surgery. This also includes establishing a facility to house the printer and the costs of technical staff to run the operation for two years.

“This is absolutely the latest in treatment and technology,” Ms Hannagan said.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the Department of Health for the establishment of the Sarcoma Centre at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

“With this commitment, we can transform the treatment of sarcoma, a cancer that afflicts people in the prime of their lives, while advancing surgical technology and innovation in Australia.

“To support the infrastructure of this vision, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse will cover the costs of clinical offices and support staffing at $1.5 million per year.”

The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is an “integrated and focussed centre of excellence”, offering everything a cancer patient needs in one place, including advanced onco-surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, clinical trials, research, education, complementary therapies and psychosocial support.

The centre is named after Professor Chris O’Brien, AO, who died in 2009, after a three year battle with an aggressive brain tumour.


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