We are incredibly excited to welcome our new deputy director of gynae-oncology, Dr Rhonda Farrell. This position is an especially inspiring one as the role is entirely funded through philanthropy. It is even more meaningful for Dr Farrell as Professor Chris O’Brien AO was a mentor of hers.
“ I wanted to make a difference to patients by looking after women in a very holistic way, which Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is well-known for doing.”
Dr Farrell’s current focus is on a specific type of chemotherapy treatment known as HIPEC (Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy). This treatment involves delivering a heated chemotherapy solution directly into the patient’s abdomen.
“Surgery removes all of the disease that we can see and then HIPEC is used to kill any microscopic cells that we can’t see. HIPEC works by giving a higher concentration of drug directly to the cancer cells, rather than through the veins, to reduce other side effects. The aim is to improve the overall survival rate, and also delay the cancer coming back in many women.”
There is some evidence that by heating cancer cells we have a greater chance of killing them. “However, we still don’t know whether it’s the heat itself, the direct contact with the drug or a combination of both that is most effective,” says Dr Farrell, whose research is aimed at answering this question.
When asked about her goals for the department, Dr Farrell says, “I’d like to foster collaboration in research in different areas, not just gynaecologic cancers.”
We look forward to updating you on Dr Farrell’s work at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, made possible through your support.
To learn more about Dr Farrell’s research or to make a donation towards research at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, visit donate.mylifehouse.org.au/drfarrell.