Hope for Richard Scolyer eight months into risky brain cancer treatment

A risky experimental treatment for “incurable” brain cancer has paid off – so far – for Richard Scolyer.

“Median time to recurrence for all patients is six months; I’m now out to eight months!” he said.

The world melanoma expert has been sharing his unorthodox treatment journey on social media since being diagnosed with glioblastoma IDH wild-type in June last year.

Professor Scolyer said he, his family and treatment team had been feeling particularly anxious at his eight-month brain scan about the cancer returning.

“So we were all thrilled to know there’s no real evidence of that,” Professor Scolyer told Australian Story.

“You want to throw a party, celebrate the good news.”

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While it is a huge relief for the 57-year-old and his loved ones, Professor Scolyer’s results have great potential to transform the field of brain cancer treatment.

World-first treatment

Professor Scolyer’s world-first treatment has been led by his friend and co-director of the Melanoma Institute Australia, Georgina Long.

Both have been at the forefront of groundbreaking advances in melanoma treatment and saved thousands of lives with their immunotherapy approach.

“We’ve taken everything, absolutely every bit of knowledge … that we’ve pioneered in melanoma and we’ve thrown it at Richard’s tumour,” Professor Long said.

Richard Scolyer and Georgina Long are co-directors of the Melanoma Institute Australia.(Supplied: Australian of the Year Awards)

Professor Scolyer was the first in the world to delay removing his brain tumour and receive combination immunotherapy before surgery.

He is also receiving doses of a personalised vaccine to combat the tumour.

“Brain cancer doctors were so worried this would kill me quicker or result in terrible side effects,” Professor Scolyer said.

“But so far so good.”

Richard Scolyer collapsed from a seizure before he was diagnosed with glioblastoma in June 2023.(Supplied)

There is even a small chance he may be cured.

“It’s not a hard decision to make when you’re faced with certain death. I’m more than happy to be the guinea pig to do this,” Scolyer said.

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