The Patricia Ritchie Centre for Cancer Care and Research has helped pioneer scalp cooling treatment in Australia. This treatment can prevent hair loss during chemotherapy – a major patient stressor – and has a significant impact on quality of life.
Initial grants provided by The Friends of the Mater Foundation enabled the purchase of Penguin Cold Caps and, as technology improved, Dignitana and Paxman cooling devices.
The Foundation is indebted to the Directors and Staff of WM Ritchie (Aust) Pty Ltd for their recent donation two Dignitana Cold Cap Systems for use in The Patricia Ritchie Centre for Cancer Care and Research.
The Patricia Ritchie Centre is now recognised as a facility of excellence for training clinicians and nurses in scalp cooling across Australia, led by Kerrie Andrews, Chemotherapy Nurse Manager. Further research to increase the effectiveness of scalp cooling is underway in collaboration with overseas experts.
In 2013, the Mater was fortunate to recruit Dr Lina Pugliano, an Australian medical oncologist who had been working in Brussels at the headquarters of the Breast International Group. Dr Pugliano is involved in medical student teaching at the University of Sydney and the research program at the Mater.