Hosam was only 25 when doctors found his first brain tumour. Recently married and working as a dentist after finishing university, Hosam attributed the increasing headaches he had been experiencing to stress.  Shortly afterwards on Christmas Eve, an MRI revealed a large tumour in his brain.

“I didn’t know anything about brain cancer at the time, and I just thought that was it. It was a death sentence once that was diagnosed. That was the beginning of the end for me. So it was really tough.”

Hosam underwent surgery to remove part of the tumour, which doctors identified as a malignant lesion, a rare form of cancer. Following the operation, he underwent radiotherapy, however a few years later the cancer had spread to his shoulder. Hosam underwent another round of successful radiation therapy before doctors discovered the lesions had returned to his brain. In 2014, he successfully underwent surgery to remove them.

 

Shortly afterwards Hosam suffered from SMART syndrome, a rare complication of radiotherapy that causes stroke-like symptoms in its sufferers.

“I lost vision in my right side. I had complete blank cognitive decay. I couldn’t read. I didn’t know the names of my kids. I didn’t know where I was. You know, it was just horrible. Of all the things that happened, that was probably the scariest.”

Doctors were able to manage Hosam’s condition and following six months of rehab he was preparing to return to work when a routine CT scan identified that the cancer had spread to his lungs.

Hosam’s doctor recommended him to Garvan’s Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) trial – which is part of their ground-breaking Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program (AGCMP), with the hopes of finding a mutation that could be targeted.

Luckily, a genetic screening test – part of the trial’s core program – identified a rare mutation that has given Hosam another chance at treatment.

Groundbreaking and life-changing

The AGCMP will soon rollout to 8 hospitals and 3 institutes across Australia, enabling Australians access to potentially life changing clinical trials.

The program, developed at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, matches therapies to patients with rare and uncommon cancers on the basis of their unique genetic information. It is hoped that by treating cancers at this individual level they can provide patients who have exhausted all treatment options a second chance.

Through its MoST clinical trials, the AGCMP compares the genome of each patient – their entire DNA – with the genome of the patient’s tumour to discern the underlying cause of their cancer and target treatment accordingly.

Vodafone Foundation is committed to helping Garvan power ground-breaking genomic cancer research, and has joined the AGCMP as its flagship corporate partner.

A local solution, with world-first results

Hosam, who resides in Perth, was able to access treatment through a research institute in his home state, avoiding monthly journeys to Sydney and making treatment even more accessible for those who need it. There is still a long journey ahead for Hosam, however he remains hopeful.

“The relief of it all. When you’ve been given an option, you’ve been given hope. They’re already working on drugs on the second stage… Things are happening so quickly now that there’s all these answers, it’s great. I’m on the drug now and hopefully it’ll create long-term benefits. But if it gives me a couple of years, then at least there’ll be another set of drugs that we can move onto.”

The AGCMP provides more than treatment options: it also provides hope to people like Hosam and the more than 52,000 people diagnosed with rare and uncommon cancers every year.

Together with the youth-focused Genome Power campaign and the DreamLab app, Vodafone Foundation is supporting a revolution in cancer research at  Garvan – and you can help too.

Simply download the DreamLab app, and join thousands of Dreamers, worldwide, who are fast-tracking cancer research, all while they sleep.

Terms and conditions

DreamLab Terms and conditions: A compatible handset is required. Downloading DreamLab will consume data. Once downloaded, DreamLab can be used when your device (i) is connected to a charging source and (ii) has mobile network or WiFi connectivity. Mobile data to use DreamLab is free for Vodafone Australia customers on the Vodafone Australia network. Roaming incurs international rates.

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Meg Retka-Tidd

Senior Manager, Partners & Programs, Vodafone Foundation

Meg Retka-Tidd,
Senior Manager, Partners & Programs, Vodafone Foundation

Working closely with our partners The Garvan Institute and Hello Sunday Morning, Meg helps the Vodafone Foundation live out its day-to-day purpose of using technology to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.

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