Patient Zero | Richard Scolyer


LEIGH SALES: You might remember last year we brought you the story of Professor Richard Scolyer, the melanoma expert dealing with brain cancer.

 Since then, he and his research colleague went on to be named the 2024 Australians of the Year, not just for their groundbreaking work in skin cancer that’s saving countless lives, but also because of their efforts trialling a revolutionary but risky treatment for Professor Scolyer’s tumour.

It’s now ten months since his original diagnosis, for an illness that usually carries a life expectancy of up to fourteen months and so of course, everybody is desperate to know how are things going.

(Richard and Gary being picked up by car)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Good morning.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER, CO-MEDICAL DIRECTOR, MELANOMA INSTITUTE AUSTRALIA: It’s now ten months out since my tumour first presented.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Thank you for picking us up.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: We know the average time to recurrence for the nasty sort of brain tumour I’ve got is about six months. So, I’m a little nervous about whether anything gets picked up. Yeah just part of the journey I’m on.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: The treatment I’m having has never been tried before in brain cancer. No one knew what it was going to do. People were nervous. But when you’re faced with a certain death, it’s a no, no brainer for me.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: I’m on my way for another MRI scan, looking for recurrent tumours the main thing, but also treatment effects.

GARRY MADDOX, BIOGRAPHER & FRIEND: People all around the world will be watching very closely because if they can have success, it will revolutionise the treatment of brain cancer. It will be a breakthrough, a medical breakthrough.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: If the scan’s clear today, it will be celebration in my heart and, and hopefully many other people. I can enjoy more of my life and help future brain cancer patients.

TITLE: PATIENT ZERO

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Another MRI scan done, Gary. So yeah, wait for the result later on.

Gary Maddox: Ok.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Later on hopefully today or during the course of the week, but fingers crossed.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Thanks for your support Gary, I really appreciate it.

[NOVEMBER 2023]

EMILY SCOLYER, DAUGHTER: Dad hasn’t slowed down since he was diagnosed. It would be really easy for him to just sort of stop all of the things that made him who he is and put all of his worry into thinking about the cancer. But it hasn’t stopped him at all.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, CO-MEDICAL DIRECTOR, MELANOMA INSTITUTE AUSTRALIA: Richard is my closest colleague but he’s also one of my best friends. Getting into training for a triathlon, Richard bought me into that and I love it.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: When Richard was diagnosed some of my close colleagues were saying, don’t be Richard’s medical oncologist, be his friend. And I’m thinking stuff that, I’m not using 15 years of my bloody hard work, like hard, long hours of work not to apply it to my friend. Where are the rules here?

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER, MELANOMA INSTITUTE & MACQUARIE UNI: Richard and Georgina are the co-medical directors of the Melanoma Institute of Australia. One a pathologist, one a medical oncologist. They have spent decades pioneering new treatments for melanoma patients.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: We’ve taken everything, absolutely every bit of knowledge from melanoma and we’ve thrown it at Richard’s tumour.

(Richard lying in hospital bed)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: I’m in the surgical suite at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where I’ve actually worked for 25 years.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: I’m more than happy to be the guinea pig to do this, in fact I see it as an opportunity to hopefully make my life better, but to blow open the brain cancer field and transform it for all brain cancer patients.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: I guess in truth I’m anxious and nervous about how it’s all going to turn out but I know I’m in great hands.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: It is dangerous, it may result in worse outcomes. But there’s a lot of hope for Richard and I want him around. I want him around long term.

[LAUNCESTON ON KANAMALUKA RIVER TAMAR]

(Richard and Mark walking across bridge)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: I remember when I was a kid I’d come up here every day in the summer holidays.

Mark Scolyer, Brother: It was a very Launceston thing because you’d always come here and there’d always be people you knew here

MARK SCOLYER, BROTHER: Richard’s my younger brother. We grew up in Riverside in Launceston, Tasmania. Our parents took us on lots of travel and walking within Tasmania and did all the normal things that people did kicking the footy, playing footy, riding bikes.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: Every summer we’d go to stay in a caravan park in Ulverstone on the northwest coast, breed our skin cancer basically by going to the beach all day, every day and playing cricket on the beach, going for, I don’t know, ten swims sometimes a day.

MARK SCOLYER, BROTHER: Richard studied medicine at the University of Tasmania and then ultimately ended up in Sydney.

Prof. John Thompson, surgical oncologist: Morning Richard.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Morning gentleman.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Tumour extends down into the reticular dermis 15 mm

PROF. JOHN THOMPSON, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST: Richard quickly established himself as someone with an interest in melanoma, and I encouraged him to develop this interest.

Prof. John Thompson, surgical oncologist: So really Richard this is a nasty looking tumour we have.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Yeah absolutely.

PROF. JOHN THOMPSON, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST: Now Richard is undoubtedly one of the top melanoma pathologists in the world at the present time.

Newsreader: The world’s biggest Melanoma research and treatment centre has opened in Sydney.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: I joined the team in 2009 as a medical oncologist. At that time, there was nothing for melanoma, no drug therapies. Patients in my waiting room I would only ever know them for 6 to 9 months because they died and it was a rare patient who would survive beyond a year or two.

Conference speaker: Its an 82-year-old gentleman with an extensive history of multi recurrent.

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER: It was essentially incurable and that all changed with the use of immunotherapies in around 2010.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: So what’s our opinion? surgeons, head and neck surgeons.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: With immunotherapy we stimulate the immune system in a very specific way so that the immune system can see the enemy, that’s the cancer, and kill it.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: OK? Happy with that? Everyone happy?

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: 15 years ago, if you had melanoma that had spread around your body, the survival rates were terrible. Less than 5% of people were alive five years later and now it’s more than 55% of people alive five years later.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Seems to be a lot of nodding around the room Georgina.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: During that time the institute grew, so did the drug therapies that worked in melanoma. So did the research program. And with all of that activity and knowledge in melanoma and cancer, we could not but help apply it to Richard’s glioblastoma.

[MAY 2023]

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: In May I went to Poland, to Krakow, to lecture in a conference. My wife Katie came with me. We climbed up into the mountains in southern Poland. And that was incredible scenery. The next day I woke up in the morning not, not feeling right, like I was about to pass out or even die. And I just like, that’s all I remember. I had a seizure and fell onto the floor. I had a red mark on my head where I must have grazed it on the carpet when I hit the floor.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: They transferred him to the university hospital in Krakow where he had an MRI scan of the brain. Katie, his wife, rang me and said, there’s a lesion to which I gasped. And, you know, when you when you have a seizure and there’s an MRI with a lesion in a, in a 56-year-old man, which is Richard, it’s usually not great news. I sent the scans straight to Brinda Shivalingam and said, ‘What do you think?’

BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, neurosurgeon: I just had one quick look at it and knew what we were dealing with. The biopsy definitively told us that this was an IDH wild type glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of primary brain cancer.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: I knew what that meant, that’s certain death. I just howl, just to come to terms with Richard, I knew immediately he had a bad tumour.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: To be facing a death sentence. Yeah. I’m not ready for this. Yeah. I love my life. I love my family. I’ve got three teenage children, I love my work. I love my colleagues. I love contributing to, to society. I don’t want to die yet.

EMILY SCOLYER, daughter: It was definitely stressful. Definitely a shock, Immediately, discussion started about, okay, what are we going to do about this? How are we going to move forward with treatment?

BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, neurosurgeon: The survival time for glioblastoma just with standard treatment is in the order of about 12 to 14 months.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: Standard therapy hasn’t changed in 18 years. Radiation and chemotherapy is just to prolong life a little bit better. It doesn’t cure anyone.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: I started to hatch a plan and think about how we could treat Richard’s tumour by using everything I had learnt and developed in melanoma to bare on how we might approach Richard’s glioblastoma.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: So the plan was to give immunotherapy before the tumour is removed from Richard’s brain.

PROF. JOHN THOMPSON, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST: This is completely contrary to standard treatment. Normally everyone says quick, quick, we must remove the tumour as soon as we can. But we believe that by giving the immunotherapy while the tumour is still there, it has a better chance of developing that immune response.

(On Zoom call)

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: IDH wild type promoted to mutated.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: Even though it’s risky and it is risky, I just give him a whiff of the idea. And he went, Yep, I want this. Yes

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER: He’s truly first in the world. It is experimental therapy. We have no data on what will happen in terms of prolonging his survival.

(Richard in medical clinic)

Nurse: What arm are we going to use?

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Got some blood out of this arm this morning so.

Nurse: Maybe the other one.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: People were pretty nervous about it. And to be honest, there was quite a bit of resistance initially to get people on board.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: (To nurse) How long do you give it to go in?

Nurse: Half an hour.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: There’s risks in in having this form of therapy, you might get swelling of the tumour. And there’s risks when you give subsequent doses that you can actually go into the liver failure.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER:I can feel that cool juice going in.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: But there’s also upside risks that, that I might live longer. And there’s a small chance that I that I could be even cured.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: Hello!

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Hi nice to see you.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: It just feels right to do this. For me to be the guinea pig, for Georgina to lead this as an opportunity, for us together to make a difference in brain cancer, like what we’ve done in melanoma.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: Your liver tests were good this morning?

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Oh, great. Yeah.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: How are you feeling?

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Yeah okay, I guess

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: If it wasn’t Richard, it couldn’t happen because he understands the risks of doing things differently, and he understands the potential benefit.

[JUNE 2023]

EMILY SCOLYER, DAUGHTER: Two weeks after immunotherapy, he had a big operation to remove most of the tumour that was in his brain.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: It’s a difficult tumour to operate on. It is very infiltrative and invasive through the brain. And it sends out little microscopic tentacles of cells. That’s what makes it very difficult or near impossible to surgically remove every last bit of it and get every cell.

(Brindha looking at scans on computer screen)

Dr Brindha Shivalingam: That’s going to be my boundary. I, I don’t think we need to go further back. We know that this, the amygdala is fatter and involved. I think, I think I will take that stuff, but I don’t want to go back into the hippocampus, right.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: What you have just said to me makes me feel more comfortable.

Dr Brindha Shivalingam: Yeah.

(Richard in bed pre-surgery)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: I’m a little nervous about the operation, craniotomy, I’m having to remove as much as my as much of my tumour as possible without leaving too much functional deficit.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: When you’re losing part of your brain that yeah, I was scared shitless, to be honest, that I’d be left with functional problems.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: You want to preserve Richard as Richard but get out as much tumour as possible. It’s stressful anyway, but to operate on a friend and a colleague is incredibly stressful.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: Brindha’s just text. ‘It is two o’clock. All done. Just doing a final diagnostic scan, and then we’ll wake him up’. Yay! Fantastic. I better just send a thumbs up. It makes me cry and a love heart and stars. Yep. Good.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Ah Emmy, my eldest daughter, you are so wonderful. Give me a kiss. Thanks for coming in to see me.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: To be honest I feel better than what I did after the operation I had two and a bit weeks ago where I had a biopsy.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: Mentally I feel like I’m still on the board. My wife’s tested me out with a whole lot of mental capacity.

(Richard lying in hospital bed)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: What’s my BP?

Wife and daughter (together): 122 over 65.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Perfect!

Prof. Richard Scolyer: What’s the heart rate?

Daughter: 59.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Wow. Not as fit as I normally am but not too bad.

EMILY SCOLYER, DAUGHTER: Dad was talking normally, joking with us, interacting. He was telling me how I had to improve my resume, about an hour after he got out of surgery!

(Brindha talking to Richard in bed)

Dr Brindha Shivalingam: I’m really happy with how everything went. And you know, it’s always a bonus when you wake up and you’re perfectly fine.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: All dressed up there Georgina.

Georgina: Yeah! I was at work.

Prof. Georgina Long: Look at you! Same scar! Hairs still there! Fashionable purple. Can I take a photo? This is amazing. Oh, it’s so good.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Yeah.

Prof. Georgina Long: You haven’t taken the Richard out of the Richard.

 Prof. Richard Scolyer: The two people who’ve supported me so much in sorting out…

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: I got out of hospital two days after surgery,

not nearly as knocked about as what I’d expected. So thanks, Brindha.

(Video diary excerpt)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: It’s now what, four weeks after I had that surgery. I’ve started on radiotherapy last week and that seems to be seems to be going well.

Prof. Georgina Long: And what would you say, mild, moderate or…

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER: The big results that we were really excited with was a huge infiltration of immune cells into the tumour, that’s really important. That means that those immune cells were somehow activated in the body. Hopefully what they’re doing is killing the cancer.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: Richard is having ongoing immunotherapy.

Nurse: So, Richard, we’re doing vaccine number two today.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: The next stage of the plan is to give Richard a personalised vaccine.

Richard (to nurse): Fine. Apart from a bloody sore arm afterwards.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: We look at what’s specific to that individual person’s cancer and try to get the immune system to recognise that specific cancer.

Nurse: All done. All right. Nice and tight.

(Georgina walks in)

Prof. Georgina Long: Hey!!

Prof. Richard Scolyer: The world’s melanoma and immunotherapy expert!

GARRY MADDOX, BIOGRAPHER & FRIEND: It’s a radical treatment. We hope it works. But it’s such an uncertain area that we don’t really know at the moment. And I’m sure even he and Georgina, for all their brilliance, don’t exactly know how well it’s going to work.

Nurse: We are going to be checking your liver your kidney function as well as full blood count.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: There isn’t a single part of Richard that has not been analysed and probed during the course of this treatment. I think everyone is watching and waiting to see how well Richard does.

(Multi-disciplinary meeting)

Prof. Georgina Long: Yesterday Christian and I had a discussion about creating a visual timeline of all the samples.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: So we’re trying to back everything up with science to show that what we’re doing, if it does happen to work, why it’s working, or if it doesn’t work, why does it not work. So that’s the important piece in this, it’s the science. Because only then can we use this data to help other patients, meaning next steps clinical trial. We have to get clinical trials up front.

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER: All the results we have so far are positive. I have to be honest, I am hoping that we could cure him. I know it’s unlikely, I’m a realist, but I also know that these drugs are phenomenal.

[SEPTEMBER 2023]

(Richard giving National Press Club address)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: So here we are today, four months after my diagnosis, with incredible guidance from Georgina supported by the Melanoma Institute team and unwavering support from family for which I can never thank them enough.

GARRY MADDOX, BIOGRAPHER & FRIEND: Since Richard’s diagnosis, he and Georgina have been on a roller coaster really trying to get the word out about what they’re trying to do.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: We had an opportunity. Actually, we had an obligation to try something groundbreaking. We have generated in 10 weeks discoveries that would normally take many years.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: We hope for nothing more than both of us being able to stand here again this time next year, as proof that the breakthroughs we’ve outlined today and our calls for change have saved lives.

PROF. JOHN THOMPSON, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST: He’s being very brave and putting on a strong outward show of strength, and all his friends and colleagues are doing their very best to support him in that. But I know that he struggles a lot.

(Family preparing dinner at home)

Richard’s wife: You could chop them up into dice and put them in the tabouleh I think.

Richard’s son: I can do that.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: I feel bad that that at times that yeah, I’m, you know, irritable or yeah, my temper is sometimes raised. I think my personality before this happened, I’m more reserved and I wouldn’t, wouldn’t fire up about things so much as what I do now. Part of it must be because you can see this defined period of how much you’re likely to be alive for. And I feel like, I want to get things finished off. I want to get the, the tasks completed. And that’s all aspects of life.

Prof. Richard Scolyer (to Emily): What time did you get home?

Emily Scolyer: 9.30.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Not a very late party then.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: My kids are starting to get a sense of how serious it is. So I get that’s hard on the kids and they at times, we have emotional moments.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Thats amazing I didn’t know that,

Emily: So all the water was pouring out of them.

EMILY SCOLYER, DAUGHTER: Mum has been a rock for everybody, including dad, even though she herself is dealing with so much. But mum is also a pathologist, like dad. and she’s happy for dad to keep pursuing it because he knows that it has the potential to make a difference to so many people.

(Richard visiting his mother in nursing home)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Oh, lovely to see you!

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: It’s a possibility for me that this could be my last chance to see family and friends in Tasmania, and that’s part of the reason why I’m so excited to be here.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: First time I’ve seen you in person since my brain cancer diagnosis came back.

Mum: It was a bit of a shock.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: More than a bit.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: The length of survival is a complete unknown at this stage.

Dad: See his scar? (Pointing at Richard’s head)

Mum: Oh. No, it’s not.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: It’s healing up pretty well.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: We know that, you know, if he sort of gets to six, nine months, 12 months without recurrence, it’s looking promising that at the very least it’s extending survival.

[November 2023, 6 months after diagnosis]

(Richard getting MRI scan)

Nurse: Lie down there for us.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: The most anxious thing is, is your tumour going to come back and that the main way that that’s detected is through an MRI scan.

PROF. JOHN THOMPSON, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST: It’s a rather stressful waiting period for Richard and all those who care deeply about him.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: The longer you go on without recurrence the more likely it’s gonna happen because it almost inevitably, inevitably does. So yeah, I’m certainly more scared about it now than what I was a few months ago.

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER: We’re so engaged in the research aspects of what we’re doing. I wonder whether we’ve processed the implications options if the therapy doesn’t work.

(Richard entering Georgina’s office)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Hey, George.

Prof. Georgina Long: Hey. I just got news. What? Your scans are fantastic!

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Yeaaah!

Prof. Georgina Long: Yeaaaaaah! I know! So no recurrence, which is good. No recurrence.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Fantastic!

Prof. Georgina Long: It’s early days. Still

Prof. Richard Scolyer: six months. Not that early.

Prof. Georgina Long: Yeah, yeah. No, no. It’s good. So what we want, though, is this. In another few months, another 2 or 3 or three scans.

[JANUARY 2024]

(Australian Of the Year Awards 2024 ceremony)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: The 2024 Australian of the year, I’m proud to announce, is prof Georgina Long and Prof Richard Scolyer.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: From where I stand, with a future now measured in months rather than decades it’s impossible for me to properly articulate how proud and how hopeful that this also makes me.

Prof. Georgina long, medical oncologist: We never imagined our life work would lead us here.

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Thank you, Australia, for bestowing us with this wonderful honour.

PROF. HELEN RIZOS, CANCER RESEARCHER: Physically, he seems to be doing really well. But there’s no doubt that there are toxicities to worry about.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: These drugs can turn on the immune system that then attacks your own body, And the toxicity itself can be life threatening. I do worry that he pushes himself a little bit too much. And we’ve had many chats about this, about slowing down, about taking a bit of time to absorb this and also resting your body somewhat. Just because Richard is so active. A little bit of rest might actually help him.

[FEBRUARY 2024]

(Instagram video)

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: The last three weeks probably been the toughest period that I’ve had so far in my brain cancer journey. I’ve had, um, partial seizures quite commonly, actually, sometimes like ten times or more a day. I’ve had three episodes where I’ve totally passed out to it.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: Now I’m on anti-seizure medication to bring things under control. And I’m very thankful I’ve had no seizures since then. I road, I don’t know, 450K’s in the Tour de Cure last weekend, and I can run and do the things I love doing and spending time with my wonderful family and enjoying life as, as best I can, given the circumstances.

[LATEST SCAN RESULT, March 2024]

Channel 9 Presenter: Professor Richard Scolyer has shown remarkable news in his fight against brain cancer showing no recurrence of the disease in 10 months.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: To be able to get this far through now we’re up to ten months without any recurrence of my tumour I’m blown away. This is not what I expected.

(Richard and Georgina looking at scan results)

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: This is great news. This area medially which we were worried about looks a little better which is nice.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: To have the scan on the 18th of March show that there’s no recurrence is remarkable. It’s, it’s fantastic. It’s great for Richard. Um, and gives us all a lot of hope.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: It’s pretty good, isn’t it? Fantastic.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: So fingers crossed it stays like this for a little while longer.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: But in cancer, it’s very rare to use the word cure you have to test your hypothesis in a larger number of people. And with Richard’s case particularly, we have to wait much more time to say whether this treatment worked in and of itself.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: From my side of the spectrum. If the next scan is clear, I’ll be celebrating on on all stops. You know, that will be incredible to get to 12 months without a recurrence. Um, yeah, that’ll be a major milestone for me personally.

PROF. GEORGINA LONG, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST: I think like any cancer patient with a terminal condition, there are ups and downs. This switch in roles has been a huge change for us. Me now as medical oncologist and as the person running and leading his immunotherapy. And for him now as the patient, this is very difficult but every month that we get with a clear scan, we’re, we’re incredibly pleased and happy for Richard.

(Richard having dinner with family)

Prof. Richard Scolyer: Cheers! Great job team.

PROF. JOHN THOMPSON, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST: The field owes him a great debt of gratitude. What Richard’s doing has advanced the treatment of glioblastoma generally in just a few months, by what would otherwise have taken ten years, maybe more.

PROF. RICHARD SCOLYER: I’m accepting of this unfortunate nasty tumour that I’ve got that is almost certainly going to come back at some stage but I am very proud that it’s going to make a difference for future brain cancer patients. And yeah, what a legacy to be able to leave even if it doesn’t cure me.

DR BRINDHA SHIVALINGAM, NEUROSURGEON: Legacy is also about family and the example of the drive and the determination and the need to change things for the better for, for the, the wider world. That’s a legacy.

END CAPTION 1: Prof. Richard Scolyer’s results are currently being peer reviewed ahead of publication.

END CAPTION 2: Prof. Georgina Long is working with neuro-oncologists across Australia and the US to develop clinical trials.



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