World-renowned science and medical experts meet in western Sydney

Parramatta MP Geoff Lee addressing medical experts.

Nearly 150 Australian and international cancer researchers, clinicians, scientists and academics have gathered in western Sydney for the 2018 National Particle Therapy Symposium.

The two-day clinical and research symposium, was officially opened by Parramatta MP Geoff Lee and facilitated by ABC’s Dr Norman Swan.

The event saw leading clinical experts participate in health, research and education discussions that support the case for a national collaborative particle therapy network in Australia.

Particle therapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses beams of energetic protons and carbon ions.

There are 14 carbon ion centres and 68 proton facilities worldwide but there is currently no similar facility in Australasia.

Emerging evidence suggests particle therapy has the potential to offer more precise treatment of tumours than photons alone.

This has the potential to lower radiation doses to surrounding healthy tissue and reduce the risk of radiation-induced secondary cancers which may be particularly beneficial for children with cancer as it could reduce damage to their rapidly-developing normal cells.

National Particle Therapy and Research Centre steering committee chair Leena Singh said the symposium was a good opportunity to discuss both the clinical, research and commercial opportunities of a carbon ion centre in Australia.

“Establishing a national carbon ion particle therapy centre in western Sydney would place NSW and Australia at the global forefront in the fight against the most difficult to treat cancers,” she said.

“It would be the only centre in Australia with carbon ion capability, which offers greater potential clinical benefits, as well as extensive scientific and research opportunities.

“The centre would bring economic benefits, strong innovation research and specialist knowledge jobs in a range of fields, not only in Westmead but nationwide.”