- State Government welcomes commercialisation in WA of innovative home-grown medical device
- Device will help reduce the amount of surgery needed by breast cancer patients
A groundbreaking Western Australian invention that is set to lower the number of breast cancer patients needing multiple surgeries is being commercialised in Western Australia.
Commercialisation of the hand-held imaging device shows that researchers and innovators no longer need to look outside this State to bring their innovations to market.
The device has been developed to improve the safety and reliability of lumpectomies, a procedure in which cancerous breast tissue - along with a surrounding margin of healthy tissue - is removed.
The tool was developed by biomedical engineers from The University of Western Australia with clinical input from Department of Health surgeons and pathologists.
Now a medical device company, OncoRes Medical has been established by the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) specifically to commercialise the product for a worldwide market.
The company, OncoRes Medical, has received a commitment of $4 million from the MRCF, with a further $2 million commitment expected to follow. Both amounts are contingent on the company attaining specific milestones.
The State Government is a founding member of the MRCF. Through the departments of Health and Commerce, it has committed $2.67 million to the MRCF for the period of 2007-22.
The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund is designed to support early-stage development and commercialisation of products stemming from member universities, medical research institutes and departments of health. It does this by providing early-stage venture capital investment.
Tissue removed during lumpectomies is sent to a laboratory for testing and if surrounding tissue contains cancerous cells, the patient will be called back for a second round of surgery to reduce the risk of the tumour returning. This happens in about one in four cases.
The OncoRes device will enable surgeons to delineate healthy from cancerous breast tissue, so sufficient tissue can be taken during the first procedure.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The commercialisation of this groundbreaking device marks a coming of age for health and medical research development and innovation in Western Australia.
"It shows that researchers no longer have to look outside the State to get the support and investment that they need to bring their ideas to fruition.
"The establishment of OncoRes should serve as an inspiration for other researchers, showing that innovation can - and should - happen here.
"The development of this tool will assist in reducing the margin for error associated with lumpectomies and ease the anxiety of patients fearing they will need more surgery to remove extra tissue.
"The tool could also lead to significant cost savings for the health system.
"This development will be good for breast cancer patients, for our health system and for the economy.
"It also highlights some of the important medical research and innovation that is already underway in this State."
Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:
"We welcome the establishment of OncoRes and the commercialisation of this cutting-edge technology.
"MRCF assists member medical research institutes and departments of health to overcome the early-stage funding gap, which can be a major obstacle to commercialising new technologies."
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister's office - 6552 6700