Reducing the Morbidity of Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

  • Clark, Jonathan (Chief Investigator)
  • Gupta, Ruta (Chief Investigator)
  • Lee, Jenny (Chief Investigator)
  • Ashford, Bruce G. (Chief Investigator)
  • Ranson, Marie (Chief Investigator)
  • Boyer, Michael (Chief Investigator)
  • Rizos, Helen (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Yang, Jean Y. H. (Chief Investigator)
  • Suaning, Gregg J. (Chief Investigator)
  • Wallace, Gordon G. (Chief Investigator)

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    Head and neck cancers (HNC) encompass 10 different sites linked by anatomical proximity including the mouth, throat, skin and salivary glands. At each site there are multiple tumour types, making it the most diverse and complex group of cancers in the human body. HNC disproportionately affects people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and remote areas.
    As there are almost no curative drug therapies, treatment involves mutilating surgery such as removal of the jaw, tongue, voice box, eye or nose followed by weeks of radiotherapy. Collectively these treatments impart enormous functional and psychosocial morbidity.
    Advances in molecular pathology and our understanding of cancer biology have led to more effective treatment strategies for many cancers. The treatment of HNC has lagged behind due to the heterogeneity of disease and the stigma and isolation it carries. This has led to an ever-widening gap in prognosis,[1] particularly for indigenous and disadvantaged patients who usually often with advanced disease.
    Our research program focusses on reducing the effects of mutilating surgery. This multipronged approach to reducing the suffering of our patients is driven by:
    i) better understanding HNC cancer biology,
    ii) early detection that enables less invasive treatments,
    iii) the development of new treatments that avoid the need for surgery, and
    iv) the use of technology to improve our ability to reconstruct important parts of the face and jaw when radical surgery is necessary.
    AcronymUSYD Led
    Effective start/end date1/02/2131/01/26