Opal Clinic closedown
Opal Clinic closed its doors in May 2008, and is currently only treating existing patients. The problem was not with the treatment. Since closedown, the two major Opal therapies, SPDT ( described on this web site) and Enzyme Therapy are both progressing rapidly. The enzyme therapy is in the early stages of commercial development, and it continues to very significantly extend peoples lives. Our Chinese colleagues continue to develop SPDT, and this also is significantly extending people’s lives.
A major reasons for closing were that:
- our Chinese colleagues were doing a better job;
- we needed to spend about $250,000 to keep our equipment up to date; and
- our Chinese colleagues have access to other useful therapies which are not available (or hard to get) in Australia
The general approach to metastatic cancer is to de-bulk or shrink tumours until they get to the size where SPDT is most effective. Our Chinese colleagues use some of the following to do this:
- Local chemotherapy. Drugs injected directly into tumours (safer and more effective than when given to the whole body).
- High intensity focussed ultra sound (HIFU). I believe that this is only used in Australia to treat prostate problems, with very few hospitals having the equipment. The Chinese use HIFU to treat many tumours, and Dr Wang in Guangzhou has recently improved the technology for this therapy.
- Radioseeds inserted directly into tumours (safer than radiation from outside the body). This is done to a limited extent in Australia, but not nearly as much as our Chinese colleagues. Australia may lack the skilled surgeons to do this.
- Hyperthermia, to safely attack large tumours which cannot be surgically removed. Widely used in Germany and China, but it does not appear to be available in Australia.
The net result is that most Australians will have to wait for regulatory approval for Opal therapies to be available in Australia and funded by insurers. We expect them to become available for one cancer type in about 2015, with others added later.
If you are interested in getting access to these treatments (outside Australia), please click here . Include your telephone number, and give a brief description of your health status, and we will direct you to the appropriate practitioners.