Chris O’Brien Lifehouse: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Advanced Cancer Care in Australia

Jul 23, 2019 | Australia, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Clinical Investigational Site, Clinical Investigators, Keytruda

A woman with cancer is sitting in a wheelchair. She walks on the street with her daughter and they fool around.

Australia’s Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (Lifehouse) is a not-for-profit, independent, comprehensive cancer center specializing in state-of-the-art treatment and research for public and private patients who are suffering from rare and complex cases. Adjacent to the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, more than 40,000 patients visit annually for screening, diagnosis or treatment where medical professionals use the latest technology in an ultra-modern, purpose-designed cancer treatment hospital. Lifehouse conducts over 140 clinical trials at any given time offering patients the world’s best options in Australia for patients facing the most difficult to treat cancers. 

A Patient Success Story: The Power of the Clinical Trial and a Saved Life

Paul Hazelwood 44, was treated with stage 4 terminal bowel cancer. He went through 16 rounds of chemotherapy to no avail. The father of two was in a horrifically desperate situation—facing death with two beautiful children and nearly half of his life left if healthy.

Somehow Paul found Lifehouse. Once diagnosed he was enrolled in a clinical trial testing Merck’s Keytruda led by principal investigator Dr. Stephen Kao. Once a participant in the clinical study via Lifehouse, Hazelwood received access to state-of-the-art care with a best-in-class cancer drug to offer him one more chance for survival. It worked! Recently Hazelwood told 7News “it’s amazing” expressing his feelings of joy and gratitude, Hazelwood continued “I don’t think I would be here at the moment if it wasn’t for Keytruda.”

Clinical Research as a Care Option

Hazelwood would not have survived if he didn’t make it to Lifehouse. The cancer center serves as both provider of medical services as well as clinical research facility. Research and clinical trials are carried out by the same clinicians who treat patients, shortening the path between discovery and new treatments for patients. Modeling the center in a similar way to the elite NCI cancer centers in the U.S., Lifehouse coordinates the state-of-the-art care for patients such as Paul Hazelwood. Once seen by Lifehouse, Hazelwood now would have access to the most advanced, powerful cancer therapies thanks to Lifehouse and their established partnerships and clinical trial contracts with global biopharmaceutical companies or their contract research organizations.

Elite clinical investigation sites can and do save lives. Paul Hazelwood would more than likely not be with us if Lifehouse wouldn’t have intervened, enroll him in a Keytruda clinical trial, and manage his care to the clinical trial protocol. Clinical trials can and do save lives. 

Professor Chris O’Brien a Hero who Lives on in Lifehouse

Professor Chris O’Brien was a head and neck cancer surgeon who worked for years to establish a world-class comprehensive cancer center in Australia. Working tirelessly to treat and care for others, Professor O’Brien himself was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his own brain. That couldn’t stop him. Sharing that “his tumor was a gift” he went to the end working to help save others. And he didn’t go away. The year of his passing, 2009, was the year of the birth of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

Australian Cancer Patients

TrialSite News has many visitors from Australia. For those that are facing cancer (either personally or a family member or friend) Chris O’Brien Lifehouse should be an option to consider for an opinion on options.

Clinical Investigator

Stephen Kao, an Australian oncologist and clinical investigator


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