Drakes Supermarkets giving patients with advanced cancers the best chance of survival
Ryan Hodges and Dr Madelé van Dyk pictured with Wendy Drake, Flinders Foundation Executive Director, Ross Verschoor, and Roger Drake at the Drakes Charity Showbag morning tea
Drakes Supermarkets are giving patients with advanced cancers the best chance of survival and precious time to spend with their loved ones.
Flinders Foundation has been a grateful beneficiary of Drakes’ Charity Showbag for many years.
From the 2020 sales of the popular showbag, $13,649 was recently donated to support precision dosing cancer research at Flinders.
This funding will support research in Dr Madelé van Dyk’s laboratory, where the team is helping around 200 patients with advanced cancers who are receiving ‘targeted therapy’ by moving away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and towards each patient receiving a personalised dose tailored to their own body.
Unlike more traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy which target all cells in the body - including healthy cells - ‘targeted therapies’ are unique in that they target specific proteins involved in the cancer cells and block both the blood and nutrient supply to the tumour and tumour growth.
Getting the “right amount of drug” to the patient is crucial, and through research a defined ‘target concentration’ has been identified to indicate how much of the drugs patients should receive. But as these drugs are taken orally at a ‘one-size fits-all’ dose, and each patient metabolises and absorbs the drug differently, blood concentrations can differ 20-100 per cent between patients.
“Body type, age, genetics, gender, ethnicity and drug metabolism are all factors which affect how much of the drug you end up with in your body,” Dr van Dyk explains.
“This concentration level is important because it’s the amount of drug the tumour will be exposed to – if it’s not enough, then the tumour won’t stop growing and if it’s too much then it can be incredibly toxic for the patient.”
Via a simple blood sample, Dr van Dyk’s team have developed methods to determine the end concentration of the drug in each individual patient. By passing these results on to the patient’s oncologist, the drug levels can be monitored and doses can be increased or decreased to optimise their treatment.
“We want to get rid of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and come up with a personalised approach for every patient to make sure they get the dose their body needs to give them the best chance of benefiting from the treatment,” Dr Van Dyk says.
“That means the best quality of life and the best chance of survival while minimising the toxicity they’re exposed to.”
This generous support from Drakes will help the research team work with oncologists to help implement personalised dosing for more patients, like 38-year-old Ryan Hodges.
Living with stage 4 lung cancer, Ryan was one of the first patients involved in Dr van Dyk’s personalised dosing studies six years ago and since then he’s dedicated much of his free time to raising funds for research into precision dosing and targeted cancer therapies.
Ryan and Dr van Dyk were guests of Drakes Supermarkets’ Charity Showbag morning tea, sharing with those in attendance how Drakes’ support will help give more patients like Ryan the best chance of survival and precious time to spend with son Ollie and wife Helen.
This is the first research of its kind in South Australia - something South Australian company Drakes Supermarkets is proud to support.
Thank you to Drakes and their wonderful suppliers and customers for making a difference for patients and their families affected by cancer.
Flinders Foundation welcomes Linda Williams APM to Board of Directors
The Chair of Flinders Foundation Alan Young AM is pleased to announce that South Australia Police (SAPOL) Deputy Commissioner Linda Williams APM has joined Flinders Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Bespoke cameras keeping newborn babies, families connected
New bespoke camera technology will provide comfort and reduce stress for families of premature babies in the Flinders Medical Centre Neonatal Unit.
Flinders researchers receive prestigious awards
Flinders University researchers Dr Yee Lian Chew and Dr Ash Hopkins have been recognised for their research excellence and enthusiasm for science communication, named in the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for 2021.
Meet the new Cancer Wellness Centre Project Manager
There is a new, smiling face to greet patients and families at the Cancer Wellness Centre at Flinders Medical Centre.
Improving the lives of children with glaucoma
Thanks to generous supporters of eye health at Flinders, researchers are hoping to improve the lives of children with glaucoma by identifying genes which lead to more severe outcomes, while also focusing on methods to improve quality of life for patients, and their families.
Mary Overton Fellowship: Worms the key to understanding brains
New research at Flinders is using tiny worms to understand how human brains learn, with hopes of helping those with chronic pain and neurodegenerative disorders.
Flinders Joins Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing
Research focusing on male health and wellbeing has received a considerable boost, with Flinders University and Flinders Foundation joining the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing.
Ralph Ernst PhD Scholarship in Prostate Cancer Research Announced
A grateful patient, treated only briefly at Flinders more than three decades ago, is providing a long-lasting legacy by helping researchers to develop new treatments for men with incurable, metastatic prostate cancer.
FibroScan Arrives at Flinders
Thanks to generous community support, patients at Flinders Medical Centre, and across regional and remote South Australia, are now receiving the monitoring they need to help detect liver cancer before it’s too late.
Little Lenny’s under the sea emergency adventure
Dolphin rides, swimming with seals and playing in a room full of kittens… Doesn’t sound like your average trip to the emergency department does it?