Leading brain cancer specialist announced as SAHMRI's McClurg Fellow

17 Dec 2021
Leading brain cancer specialist announced as SAHMRI's McClurg Fellow

SAHMRI and South Australia have secured an internationally renowned clinical oncologist and children’s brain cancer specialist to help lay the foundations for the arrival of proton therapy treatment and research in Adelaide.

From early next year, Associate Professor Jordan Hansford, will share his expertise through dual roles with SAHMRI and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN).

SAHMRI Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh, says the inaugural McClurg Brain Cancer Fellow is the first key paediatric appointment for the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research, which will be Australia’s first proton therapy centre.

“This is a magnificent appointment that has been made possible by the generosity of Jamie McClurg, whose $1 million gift was the largest donation SAHMRI has received from an individual in our existence,” Professor Wesselingh said.

“The fact that a professional of Associate Professor Hansford’s international renown is so eager to come to Adelaide to be part of our team is an enormous vote of confidence in what everyone involved in this project is delivering for people with cancer across Australia and the Pacific region.”

As well as the McClurg Fellowship, A/Prof Hansford has been appointed as the Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group Paediatric Radiation Oncology Fellow with WCHN and will have an affiliate research position with the University of Adelaide.

South Australia’s Health and Wellbeing Minister, Stephen Wade says it’s an exciting milestone for the treatment of cancer in South Australia and is a testament to our state’s strong reputation within the international health sector.

“South Australia is continuing to attract the best and brightest to our great state and this new appointment adds to the incredible talent, expertise and knowledge that already exists within our health and medical research community,” Minister Wade said.

“Through this joint appointment funded through THRF Group, a philanthropic gift from Commercial & General founder Jamie McClurg and through the University of Adelaide, A/Prof Hansford will provide direct care to patients at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, build upon our proton therapy research, and develop referral and care pathways for children who will soon be referred to South Australia for proton therapy.”

Proton therapy will deliver precise, non-invasive radiotherapy that can destroy cancer cells while minimising the damage to surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs. This enables treatment with less side effects for paediatric, adolescent and young adult patients and those with rare cancers.

Development of the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research is being led by SAHMRI. The building is due for completion in late 2023 and is expected to see around 700 patients a year when treatments begin in 2025.

The McClurg Brain Cancer Fellowship was launched earlier this year with the expressed intent of enhancing South Australia’s health and medical research sector by attracting talent from interstate or overseas.

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