The Australian Bragg Centre is a $500+ million addition to the largest health and biomedical precinct in the Southern Hemisphere, Adelaide’s BioMed City.
Named in honour of two Nobel Prize winners, Sir William Henry Bragg and his son Sir William Lawrence Bragg, this unique piece of infrastructure represents South Australia’s highest priority project for health, research expansion and education. The Australian Bragg Centre will provide a focal point for research of international calibre into the treatment of cancer, a major cause of illness in Australia.
The heart of the building sits at its bunker – a three-level research and treatment facility specialising in next generation cancer treatment. The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will be the first proton therapy centre in Australia and will be overseen by the clinical and research expertise of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). The proton therapy centre will deliver the most technologically advanced precision radiation therapy available in Australia. It is anticipated the centre will provide treatment to approximately 600-700 patients per annum, with around half of these expected to be children and young adults.
By combining research, education, clinical care, business development and innovation, The Australian Bragg Centre will facilitate an unparalleled opportunity to network, collaborate and advance research.SAHMRI (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute)
Once complete, the Australian Bragg Centre will incorporate world-class facilities for cutting edge research by SAHMRI and lab and office space for SA Health and biomedical companies keen to be part of Adelaide’s burgeoning biomed industry and educational institutions.
Construction on the 15-storey premises is now underway and practical completion is anticipated by late 2023 with the first patients expected to be treated approximately 18 months later.
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.
Through innovation, collaboration and technology we can be pioneers of the future of health care, while increasing social and health benefits and supporting local business to build a sustainable economy.
The Australian Bragg Centre represents a significant opportunity to further South Australia’s commitment to growing the world-class $3.6 billion Adelaide BioMed City – one of the largest health and life sciences clusters in the Southern Hemisphere.
In line with government objectives for developing proton therapy capability and increasing jobs, a variety of health care professionals representing niche specialties will ultimately be trained here, enhancing radiation oncology expertise whilst addressing the surging demand for cancer care.
The Australian Bragg Centre provides an opportunity for Australia to cement its reputation as a leader in international health and medical research.
This new building complements and accentuates the striking geometric façade of the existing SAHMRI flagship facility, which draws its design origin from the natural contours of a pinecone. The built form acknowledges its sense of place within the health and medical precinct and enhances the patient and staff experience. Abutting the green belt of the Adelaide park lands, the design approach minimises its impact on the land while also maximising its orientation.
Importantly, through iconic and sculptural form, the Australian Bragg Centre will establish its own unique identity that is inspired by the characteristics of our city.
SAHMRI was the first laboratory building in Australia to be certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold building. With the same high standards of design being applied to the Australian Bragg Centre, it is anticipated that it will achieve a Gold rating on completion.
The Australian Bragg Centre will generate an estimated $1 billion in economic activity and support approximately 1000 jobs throughout the construction period and many long-term jobs following completion.
The Australian Bragg Centre is an innovative ‘next step’ that will bring together leading researchers and clinicians from around the globe with ground-breaking technology to shape the future of health care practice.
The Centre’s flagship proton therapy unit – The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research – represents a significant advancement in radiotherapy treatment for cancer and will become the most advanced radiation oncology centre and the only one of its kind in Australia.
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.
In collaboration with tertiary health care centres and illustrious research institutions, The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will build a world-class profile for proton therapy in Australia. This significant addition to Australia’s scientific and clinical research infrastructure will deliver precision radiation therapy for a range of difficult-to-treat tumours.
Through innovation, collaboration and technology, we can be pioneers of the future of health care, while increasing social and health benefits and supporting local business to build a sustainable economy.
- Highly focused precision treatment
- Delivers a high radiation dose to the tumour while minimising the dose to normal tissue
- Can treat tumours that lie within millimetres of vital tissue
- Reduces the risk of treatment-induced second cancer
- Wide range of non-patient research opportunities in areas such as radiobiology, space environment testing, bioengineering and particle physics
SAHMRI and Commercial & General take pride in the work we do and employ a diverse range of talented people with unique skills and knowledge from across the world in biomedicine, development, construction and cancer treatment.
To register your interest for future career opportunities at the Australian Bragg Centre, please click below.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Proton Therapy?
Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment that is used to treat certain tumours. Specialised professionals design custom radiotherapy treatments for individual patients, tailoring the proton beam to destroy cancer cells and minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues surrounding the tumour.
- How does Proton Therapy work?
Proton therapy makes use of advanced particle accelerator technology to generate proton beams of a specific energy. Protons are charged particles that penetrate tissue to a precise distance. They deposit most of their energy at the end of the beam at the site of the cancer before stopping completely. This effect is known as the Bragg Peak and enables the largest dose to be delivered to the tumour. This means that normal tissues around the tumour are exposed to very little radiation.
- What is the difference between proton therapy and traditional radiation therapy?
Traditional radiation therapy makes use of X-rays to treat the patient. X-rays and protons interact differently with matter. X-rays pass all the way through the patient, depositing radiation doses along the way, whereas protons stop at a predefined location. The inherent nature of proton radiation is utilised to deliver a more precise radiation dose to the tumour and less to the surrounding healthy tissues.
- Who is a candidate for Proton Therapy treatment?
Proton therapy can be used to treat a wide range of solid tumour cancer types. Proton therapy has particular advantages for younger cancer patients due to the reduction in radiation dose to healthy tissues. It has the potential to reduce long term side-effects of radiation treatment.
Proton therapy may also be useful in cases where traditional radiotherapy is likely to lead to significant short-term complications. This is quite often the case when treating cancers of the head and neck. International clinical trials are investigating proton therapy as a treatment for a number of other cancers, including prostate, breast, and oesophageal tumours among others.
Proton therapy may be used as the sole treatment or in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. As such, it is essential that any proton therapy is planned and coordinated with other aspects of a patient’s care, in the same way as conventional radiotherapy, to ensure a seamless and coordinated treatment pathway.
- What proton therapy system is being installed?
The proton therapy unit is being supplied by ProTom International, which will install its Radiance 330 proton therapy system, the same system 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.
- When will proton therapy be accessible for patients?
Eligible patients are currently able to access financial assistance for proton therapy overseas through the Federal Government’s Medical Treatment Overseas Program (MTOP).
Construction on the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research commenced in June 2020 with practical completion anticipated by late 2023. The first patients are expected to be treated approximately 18 months following practical completion. When the Centre is commissioned for clinical use, funding for MTOP will cease.
- Why is it called the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research?
Unlike traditional radiation treatments, one of the significant advantages of proton therapy is its ability to deposit radiation dose at a predefined depth and very narrow area within the body. This unique delivery property of protons is known as the Bragg Peak. The Bragg Peak was discovered by Nobel Laureate Sir William Henry Bragg AM KBE PRS in 1904 while working at the University of Adelaide. The name of the building and the facility reflects the contribution of this prominent Adelaide resident, and his son and fellow Nobel Prize recipient Sir William Lawrence Bragg to honour their contribution to scientific innovation, and physics in particular, on which the field of radiotherapy is heavily based.
- Who will work in the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research?
A multidisciplinary team comprising of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, medical physicists and cancer nurses will make up the core staff who will be looking after patients. In addition to this, other team members will include administrative staff and radiation engineers.
- Who will be able to access this treatment?
Patients will be referred from around Australia for treatment and it’s estimated that 25 per cent of the patients will be full fee paying from overseas countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
- How big is the building?
The Australian Bragg Centre has a total of 32,000 sqm across 15 levels that includes three levels below ground and 11 levels of dry lab space with 10 clinical trial rooms.
- What will be happening inside the building?
Below ground you will find the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research. Above ground will house SAHMRI research activities, clinical research rooms and SA Health services.
- Who is SAHMRI?
The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is South Australia’s leading independent health and medical research institute. SAHMRI is home to more than 700 medical researchers, working together to tackle the biggest health challenges in society today including cancers, heart disease, dementias, Aboriginal health inequity, premature birth, diabetes and mental illness. SAHMRI fosters broad collaborations to ensure scientific discovery is translated into better health outcomes for the community.
- Who is Commercial & General?
In collaboration with SAHMRI, South Australia’s leading developer Commercial & General has been the driving force behind the Australian Bragg Centre, designing, funding and developing the business case and providing $400m in private sector finance. Commercial & General has a leading capability in health, having recently completed the successful $345m Calvary Adelaide Hospital, the most cost-effective piece of critical health infrastructure in South Australia.
- Who designed the Australian Bragg Centre?
The Australian Bragg Centre has been designed by Woods Bagot, the same architects who designed the SAHMRI building on North Terrace.
- Who is building the Australian Bragg Centre?
Commercial & General has engaged building partner, Lendlease to construct the Australian Bragg Centre.
- When will the Australian Bragg Centre be completed?
The Australian Bragg Centre is due for completion in late 2023 and is expected to treat its first patients around 18 months following building completion.
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