Doctor still cancer-free almost a year after incurable brain tumour diagnosis – thanks to his own pioneering treatment

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An Australian doctor who applied his own pioneering research on melanoma to the incurable brain cancer he was diagnosed with almost a year ago is still cancer-free.

University of Sydney Professor Richard Scolyer said he “couldn’t be happier” after the results of a recent MRI showed there was still no sign of recurrence of his glioblastoma.

Posting the update on X, Prof Scolyer, who alongside fellow University of Sydney professor, Georgina Long, was named Australian Of The Year, said: “I couldn’t be happier!!!!!

“Thank you to the fabulous team looking after me so well especially my wife Katie & wonderful family!”

Prof Scolyer, whose life-changing melanoma treatment is credited with saving thousands of people, was found to have a tumour in June last year after having a seizure in Poland.

He became the world’s first brain cancer patient to have pre-surgery combination immunotherapy as he used the foundation of his life-changing work on melanoma on himself.

Prof Scolyer is now hopeful the tumour will not return as, according to the doctor, the median time to recurrence for the grade four brain tumour he had is six months.

“By undertaking an experimental treatment with risk of shortening his life, he has advanced the understanding of brain cancer and is benefiting future patients,” the University of Sydney said as it announced the Australians Of The Year award for Prof Scolyer and Prof Long.

The professors, who are also co-medical directors of the Melanoma Institute Australia, made the disease a curable one thanks to their immunotherapy approach, which activates a patient’s own immune system.

Speaking to Sky News’s Kay Burley back in February, Prof Scolyer said the “risk of major adverse reactions to these sorts of drugs is fairly high, but I’ve had it plain-sailing so far so I couldn’t be happier and I hope it stays like that for some time longer”.

Prof Long added: “We’ve shown that… you can activate the immune system and do it very well and this is now a foundational first step to change the field and the way drugs are explored in brain cancer.”

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