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Million dollar upgrade doubles brain cancer service

27 July 2018

Twice as many patients with benign or malignant brain tumours will have access to a non-invasive alternative to open brain surgery thanks to a $1.5 million upgrade to Princess Alexandra Hospital’s (PAH) Gamma Knife technology.

PAH Radiation Oncologist Associate Professor Matthew Foote said the Australian-first upgrade would allow PAH to perform multiple treatments on larger tumours located in the brain or upper neck—doubling the hospital’s ability to perform life-saving care. 

“Gamma Knife technology uses focused beams of radiation designed to hit the target without damaging surrounding healthy tissue,” he said. 

“Previously we were only able to treat smaller tumours in one session. For patients with multiple tumours this meant they may have had to undergo hours of treatment. 

“With the upgrade we will be able to treat larger tumours and we can spread out treatment over three days for patient comfort.

“In our first year we treated 180 patients, now in our third year we’re expecting to treat 450.”

The upgrade to an ‘ICON’ Gamma Knife, which includes enhanced image guidance and motion monitoring, was made possible thanks to a $1.5 million donation to the PA Research Foundation (PARF).

PARF Chief Executive Officer Damian Topp said the donor's family, Ms Mary Xu and the Reichert family, appreciated that the generous gift would help build a world-class service.

“Since 2015, PAH has been the only public hospital in Australia offering Gamma Knife technology. Now thanks to the generosity of one donor, PAH is the only hospital in Australia to have the upgraded ICON Gamma Knife,” he said. 

To honour the donation, A/Professor Foote said the unit’s patient waiting area would be renamed the Garry Reichert Gamma Knife Suite.

“This kind donation will help us save more lives and will help more Queenslanders get the best care possible,” he said.

“The procedure is simple, painless, has minimal risks and does not require any cutting or shaving of hair.

“Treatment is done as an outpatient, so patients can go home to their families and often feel well enough to go back to work the next day.”

Last updated 27 July 2018
Last reviewed 27 July 2018

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