University of Auckland: FMHS helps bring cancer therapy to New Zealand

The University of Auckland and its medical faculty were key in both May’s journey and convincing the government to permanently fund a treatment called PRRT for neuroendocine tumours (NETs).

“I’m just really grateful – me and many other families,” May said at an event to celebrate the launch of the service. She told how she’d regained energy, doubled in weight (“be careful what you wish for”) and was now looking forward to the impending arrival of a grandchild.

Health Minister Andrew Little and Ben Lawrence, May’s doctor and the head of oncology in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, were among those listening.

May was one of a handful of patients to receive the innovative therapy last year thanks to a donation to the university from the late ophthalmologist Tony Morris and his wife Margaret.

The University of Auckland team helped to design the PRRT treatment protocol, and will collaborate with the hospital to keep improving the service, in part via genomic testing.

“I was delighted that the most urgent patients were treated with PRRT at Auckland
City Hospital late last year – and now that all patients who need PRRT therapy can
have it when they need it,” said Professor John Fraser, the dean of the medical faculty

The new national treatment service will be offered by the Auckland District Health Board and reflects work by organizations including the Ministry of Health, Te Aho o te Kahu – Cancer Control Agency, The Unicorn Foundation New Zealand, and the Auckland Academic Health Alliance.

The launch event was held at Auckland City Hospital.

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