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Leading brain cancer specialist makes the move to SA

Jordan Hansford
Posted 17 Dec. 2021

South Australia has secured an internationally renowned clinical oncologist and children’s brain cancer specialist to help elevate the state’s world-leading research and treatment of cancer.

From early next year, Associate Professor Jordan Hansford, will share his expertise through roles at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN), the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the University of Adelaide.

Through a joint appointment funded through the Hospital Research Foundation Group (THRF Group), a philanthropic gift from Commercial & General founder Jamie McClurg and through the University of Adelaide, Associate Professor 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.

WCHN CEO Lindsey Gough said, as part of the multi-year appointment, he will work as THRF Group Paediatric Radiation Oncology Fellow, providing direct care to neuro-oncology patients and consultations to patients across the world.

“We are very thankful to THRF Group for their generous grant of $2 million over the next five years to support his position at the WCHN where he will work in the Michael Rice Centre for Haematology and Oncology,” said Ms Gough.

“We feel extremely fortunate to have Associate Professor Hansford joining our team. He is a leader in his field with strong international networks and experience, and our young patients will undoubtedly benefit from his extensive knowledge and expertise.”

THRF Group CEO, Paul Flynn, said it is delighted to help bring Associate Professor Hansford to Adelaide and support him in the role of THRF Group Paediatric Radiation Oncology Fellow.

“We know he will be instrumental in saving and improving the lives of children and their families,” said Mr Flynn.

This new role 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 and the first centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Development of the centre is being led by SAHMRI. It is due for completion in late 2023 and is expected to see around 700 patients a year when treatments begin in 2025. SAHMRI Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh, said the appointment of Associate Professor Hansford as the inaugural McClurg Brain Cancer Fellow is a significant milestone in realising the life-saving potential of proton therapy.

“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,” said Professor Wesselingh.

This appointment along with funding for a clinical research assistant to support Associate Professor Hansford has also been made possible by the University of Adelaide’s contribution of $0.5 million. “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.”

Proton therapy will deliver precise, less 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.

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.