Melbourne researchers on the verge of deadly cancer breakthrough

Melbourne researchers may be on the edge on a breakthrough in the treatment of one of our deadliest cancers thanks to some very high powered celebrity support.

Melbourne researchers on the verge of deadly cancer breakthrough

Melbourne researchers on the verge of deadly cancer breakthrough

Maria Valente, 51, was diagnosed with brain cancer in June last year.

Maria Valente, 51, was diagnosed with brain cancer in June last year. Photo: 7 News

It has a five percent survival rate, but three months ago she became one of three Australians to trial a new treatment.

Now, she feels better than ever.

"I am blessed because I've been given the opportunity to go on this trial drug, and hopefully if it works on me, it can work on other people as well," Valente told 7News.

Maria Valente is already confident of success of the trial. Photo: 7 News

Glioblastoma multiforme - or GBM - is the most common and lethal brain cancer.

It grows tentacles which are difficult to remove and tricks the body into thinking there's nothing wrong.

Glioblastoma multiforme - or GBM - is the most common and lethal brain cancer. Photo: 7 News

This remarkable new treatment makes the body recognise the cancer - then attack it.

"Here, we're really using the body's own immune system to try and fight the cancer," Professor Hui Gan told 7 News.

The trial was launched by singer and cancer campaigner Olivia Newton-John, who revealed her sister died from GBM two years ago.

The trial was launched by singer and cancer campaigner Olivia Newton-John, who revealed her sister died from GBM two years ago. Photo: 7 News

"I'm very excited about all these new therapies and I'm really delighted that I think we'll see an end to cancer in my day," Newton-John said.

"That's my dream."

"I'm very excited about all these new therapies and I'm really delighted that I think we'll see an end to cancer in my day," Newton-John said. Photo: 7 News

But experts say the brain cancer survival rate hasn't improved in 30 years.

It's still too early to say if this treatment will extend patients' lives or perhaps even cure this type of brain cancer altogether.

But if the trial goes well, those involved hope the treatment will be fast tracked and be widely available to patients within the next couple of years. 44.30

"The first thing is to find a drug that works and then to find an approach that works," Dr Lawrence Cher, Maria Valente's doctor, told 7 News.

"Then work out when's the best time to use it, and what's the best way to use it."

His patient though is already confident of success.

"I am going to beat this," Valente said.

"And this immunology drug is going to be the future."

News break – September 21

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