Trials for a revolutionary non-invasive skin cancer treatment have begun across Australia with participants of the study undergoing a therapy called Rhenium-ST.
It works by using beta-radiation to trigger the death of cancerous cells while also killing the cells within the immune system which would repair that area. Rhenium-SCT was developed in Germany and is an epidermal radioisotope therapy that is painless and non-invasive however only works on non-Melanoma skin cancer.
Testing has begun on over 200 patients around Australian including facilities on the Gold Coast, Sydney, and Perth. Approval for the trial was given in December last year with OncoBeta Australia Medical Director Dr Sam Vohra saying, “The Rhenium-SCT has advantages in that it’s a single treatment that is painless with a really good cosmetic outcome”.
500 patients have already been a part of a worldwide trial where there was a 90 per cent clearance rate. All the patients were followed up two years later but it is not yet known what the outcome was of the check-ups.
9News interviewed trial participant Jan McGrath who travelled from Sydney to the Gold Coast to be a part of the treatment. According to Ms McGrath, she has had over ten skin cancers removed before, including major surgery on her nose.
“It just sounded amazing to be able to cure it without having to be cut, chopped and sewn,” she said.
“It was really easy [and] didn’t hurt at all.”
Although this treatment may provide useful for non-cancerous skin diseases, it is not suitable for people with a melanoma like skin cancer as a more invasive approach is needed to remove the cancer. According to Cancer Australia, skin cancer was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2021 while there was a 92 per cent survival rate for people who were diagnosed with the disease.
Australian has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world according to the Cancer Council who recommends that Aussies Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide while out in the sun to reduce their chances of catching skin cancer.