Construction will start next month on a new $500+ million Adelaide cancer centre that will have the potential to change lives for thousands of patients across the country.
The Australian Bragg Centre will be home to the first Proton Therapy Unit in Australia, delivering the most technologically advanced, precision radiation therapy to people who would normally have to travel overseas for their treatment.
The precise nature of proton therapy allows radiation oncologists to target cancerous tissues directly with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This makes it a valuable treatment option for tumours close to vital organs or those diagnosed in children.
The Australian Bragg Centre project, which will support 1000 jobs and generate an estimated $1 billion in economic activity during construction, is due for completion in late 2023 and is expected to treat its first patients around 18 months later.
Located in Adelaide’s BioMed precinct, the Australian Bragg Centre has been made possible through an innovative partnership between the private sector and Federal and State governments.
South Australia’s leading developer Commercial & General has been a driving force behind the project in collaboration with SAHMRI, designing, funding and developing the business case and providing nearly $400 million in project finance. Commercial & General has a leading capability in health, having recently completed the successful $345 million Calvary Adelaide Hospital, the most cost-effective piece of critical health infrastructure in South Australia.
Quotes attributable to Commercial & General Executive Chair Jamie McClurg:
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of four years of hard work, commitment and determination for all of those involved.
“Our collective success has and will be driven by the meaningful and robust partnerships we have built with SAHMRI, ProTom and the State Government. At the same time, we have worked seamlessly with our nation-leading radiation oncology and medical physics capabilities. The result has been a deep collaboration that will deliver outstanding outcomes for medical specialists, researchers, the South Australian community and, most importantly, for cancer patients.
“Our health team has been forging strategic alliances with leading cancer centres around the world to ensure that the Australian Bragg Centre can be a beacon for sufferers and researchers.
“What we’ve been able to achieve through this innovative partnership between the private sector and Federal and State governments is one major multi-institutional complex with a single aim – to attack cancer from every angle for the benefit of patients now and in the future.”
As well as hosting the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy & Research – the country’s only proton therapy unit – the building is also expected to be home to the SAiGEN Cancer Institute, a new independent genomics and immunotherapy facility dedicated to cancer research, experts from SA Health as well as researchers from SAHMRI’s cancer programs and Women and Kids and Aboriginal Health Equity themes. SAHMRI will also be able to expand its research capacity in artificial intelligence, machine learning, health informatics and health data analytics and will make another floor available for businesses from the health, biomed and pharmaceutical industries to gain a footprint in Adelaide BioMed City.
Alongside treatment services provided within other areas of Adelaide’s BioMed City precinct, the Australian Bragg Centre will be the fulcrum of a South Australian comprehensive cancer centre.
Quotes attributable to SAHMRI Executive Director Professor Steve Wesselingh:
“SAHMRI is proud and humbled to be involved in this partnership that will be transformative in so many ways, and not just for South Australia.”
“The Australian Bragg Centre will figuratively and literally be built on the emerging technology of proton therapy. The building’s three underground levels are dedicated to a facility that will not only deliver life-saving treatment to cancer patients, in particular children, but will provide potential for research to unlock further benefits of this relatively new field and be a training ground for proton therapy specialists from throughout the Asia Pacific region and beyond.
“This building will also facilitate innovation spanning a range of fields including research and development, clinical trials and training. This includes welcoming partners from the health, biomed and pharmaceutical industries as a crucial final piece in the puzzle for Adelaide BioMed City, creating significant employment opportunities and enabling the research we do to be rapidly translated into real-world benefits for our community.”
Both State and Federal governments have been key enablers of the project, with the Commonwealth providing $68 million in a National Partnership Agreement, while the Government of South Australia is a cornerstone tenant through SA Health and a funding partner having provided $47.4 million towards the project, which includes the land and relocation of major rail infrastructure on the site.
The proton therapy unit is being provided by ProTom International, which will install its Radiance 330 proton therapy system, the same being used at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. When in full operation, it will have the ability to treat approximately 600-700 patients per year with around half of these expected to be children and young adults.
Quotes attributable to ProTom International President and CEO Stephen Spotts:
“ProTom International is delighted to be a key part of this outstanding project. We believe our Radiance 330 device is the world leader in proton therapy and will enhance the Bragg Centre’s position in cancer treatment not only in Australia, but across the Asia-Pacific region.
“We congratulate SAHMRI and Commercial & General for their vision in conceiving this extension of Adelaide’s cancer expertise, and the South Australian and Australian governments on their foresight in supporting this development.”
The Australian Bragg Centre building has been designed by Woods Bagot and will be built by Lendlease. Site remediation has been carried out by another South Australian company, McMahon Services.
Key project facts:
- The centre is named after Sir William Henry Bragg, and his son Sir William Lawrence Bragg (the latter Adelaide born and educated) to honour their contribution to scientific innovation, and physics in particular, on which the field of radiotherapy is heavily based.
- The project has an end value of $500+ million and will support 1000 jobs through construction. Using ABS evaluation tools, it is estimated the Australian Bragg Centre will generate $1 billion in economic activity during its construction.
- Site mediation has been underway since August 2019. Major construction work is commencing in July 2020. Practical completion is anticipated to be late 2023 with the first patients expected to be treated approximately 18 months later.
- In terms of size/scale, the building will have 32,000m2 total floor area across 15 levels (three below ground) with 11 floors of dry lab space and 10 clinical trial rooms. The Proton Therapy Unit will have the ability to treat approximately 600-700 patients per year with around half of these expected to be children and young adults.
- In August 2019, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that the Federal Government would commit $80 million to establish the SAiGEN Cancer Institute within the new BioMed City building now known as the Australian Bragg Centre. The project partners acknowledge Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff for working with South Australian cancer physicians and scientists to develop the SAiGEN Cancer Institute concept and proposal to government.
About proton therapy:
The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research is Australia’s first Proton Therapy clinic. It will deliver the most technologically advanced, precision radiation therapy by a synchrotron proton therapy system. The precise nature of proton therapy allows radiation oncologists to target cancerous tissues directly with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This makes it a valuable treatment option for tumours close to vital organs or those diagnosed in children.
The proton therapy unit is being provided by ProTom International which will install its Radiance 330 proton therapy system, the same being used at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The Australian Bragg Centre will also be an invaluable resource for researchers as they continue to develop new ways to treat diseases. Benefits of proton therapy include:
- Highly focused precision treatment
- Minimal entry and exit dose
- Delivers a very high radiation dose to the tumour
- Delivers nearly all of the dose directly to the tumour
- Can treat tumours that lie within millimetres of vital tissue
- Reduces risk of treatment-induced second cancer
Wide range of non-patient research opportunities in areas such as radiobiology, bioengineering and particle physics
For more information, visit australianbraggcentre.com.
Project media: Michels Warren PR – Phil Martin on 0418 817 876 or Kristy Macfarlane on 0402 557 527