- Last Updated on 16 August 2015
Treating Cancer: Dr Kylie Mason comments on the new approaches to treating cancers such as leukaemia and non-hodgkins lymphoma ahead of National Science Week 2015
This article appeared in the The Age, August 16, 2015
Author: Science Writer, Bridie Smith
Ask a medical researcher if we will ever find a cure for cancer and the answer will likely come cushioned with a gentle smile and shake of the tilted head before it's verbalised - no.
"It's an infinite number of diseases, it's not just one disease," says leukaemia researcher and scientist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Melbourne University Kylie Mason. "The more we know the more we realise what we don't know."
Progress, helped by advances in everything from supercomputing to immunotherapy and genomics, is nevertheless being made.
In Dr Mason's field alone, researchers have gone from believing that there were just two kinds of non-Hodgkin lymphoma to having identified more than 60 types. And that's not including the subtypes that have been documented.
According to the Cancer Council, the five-year survival rate for all cancers has improved from 47 per cent between 1982-87 to 67 per cent in 2007-11.
And there is more improvement to come, thanks to the advent of what is called personalised medicine which tailors treatment to the individual's profile, not the cancer.
"Every patient is an individual," said Dr Mason, who herself survived leukaemia as a teenager. "They are going to respond differently to somebody else with the same named diagnosis. We're not treating a cancer, we're treating a patient."
Read the full article: The Age
The New Frontier in Treating Cancer,16 August 2015
Dr Kylie Mason, MBBS PhD FRACP FRCPA is also a Clinical and Laboratory Haematologist at Melbourne Haematology.