“Australia has the highest incidence of NMSCs in the world, so it is imperative that we investigate new treatment options and continue to improve patient outcomes,” Siddhartha Baxi, a researcher of the study, said.
Non-melanoma cancers-the less serious form of skin cancer-currently account for about 99 percent of skin cancers diagnosed each year, with the Cancer Council predicting that around two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.
The international EPIC-Skin clinical study led by OncoBeta GmbH will be testing the company’s Rhenium-SCT, a radioactive paste that kills cancer cells when applied by doctors to the affected area.
Two hundred Australian patients will be treated with Rhenium-SCT and monitored over the next two years, and as a part of the international study, trials through study centres located in Australia, Austria, Germany, and the UK will also be conducted.
Rhenium-SCT, the single-session radiotherapy was made to be a painless, personalised, and non-invasive radiotherapy for eliminating skin cancer.
The treatment uses a paste that contains radioactive Rhenium-188 isotopes that releases electrons capable of penetrating human tissue of up to 2 to 3 mm deep. The electrons kill the targeted cancer cells and in doing so encourages immune repair.
The half-life of Rhenium-188 is only 17 hours and allows for a short treatment duration of 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Apart from evaluating efficacy of Rhenium-SCT, the EPIC-Skin study also has an emphasis on patient reported outcomes such as quality of life, treatment comfort and cosmetic outcomes.
OncoBeta’s statement released on Mar. 10 wrote that “patients in the study will utilise OncoBeta’s Clinical Study app, providing a simple and streamlined way to record their experiences.”
Gerhard Dahlhoff, Medical Director at OncoBeta said that “Rhenium-SCT offers a new way of treating NMSC.”
“Rhenium-SCT can be applied directly to an affected area, without harming or scarring surrounding tissue. This can have a profound effect on patient quality of life, where function or aesthetics are concerned.”
Jan McGrath was one of the first Australian patients to have Rhenium-SCT and received her treatment on Feb. 25 for a basal cell carcinoma found on her ear.
McGrath, who has previously undergone “traumatic” surgeries for other skin cancers, told the AAP that “it was a very pleasant experience.”
“I had to wait nearly three hours to let it do its thing. So, I just sat in a nice chair and watched the telly.”
Rhenium-SCT is currently approved for use in Australia, Europe, and South Africa.
More people will be able to participate in the trial as it’s rolled out in clinics in NSW and Western Australia.
The AAP contributed to this report.