Connectivity is central to effective integration
As an alliance organisation, our ability to bring about better connectivity is key to the effective integration of research, education and clinical translation.
Multiple initiatives have created connections across organisational boundaries, encouraged system-level collaboration and fostered a culture of parity, openness and cooperation.
Creating connections between scientists and clinicians
This year, the VCCC Scientists in the Clinic program was successfully piloted in partnership with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The key goal of the preceptorship is to build connections between researchers and clinicians to facilitate opportunities for translational research. Scientists who took part in the program have gained experience in a clinical setting, interacting with experts in cancer treatment. Importantly, they were also able to meet with patients undergoing treatment, community and family members, to gain an understanding of some of the challenges faced, and the impacts that research can have on individuals.
To assist other organisations to duplicate the program in their own settings, a freely available online toolkit has been created, offering multiple resources via the VCCC website.
Overcoming barriers to nurse-led research
The VCCC Nurse-led Research Hub is a thriving community of practice, research incubator and online network designed to develop nurse education and training in research. Nurses from Victoria, interstate and overseas are actively involved in the initiative which is a progressive example of a multi-faceted approach to empowering nurses to become emerging clinical researchers. It provides tailored support for nurses to connect, consolidate and utilise their new knowledge to begin to build quality nurse-led research as a feature of comprehensive, evidence-informed cancer care.
Graduates of the VCCC Nurse-led Research Hub Partnership Post program; where nurses are released from their regular workplace to take part in a research study intensive - say the program has demystified research and opens the door for more nurses to consider research as a pathway to improve patient care, and to enhance their career capability.
Molecular Tumour Board progresses precision medicine
Now entering its eighth year, the VCCC Molecular Tumour Board provides a multidisciplinary style forum to share opinion on the clinical implications of molecular pathology test results of tumours. Held monthly and open to all, the forum offers clinicians the opportunity to gain cutting edge advice on complex cases and provides an exceptional education opportunity for anyone interested in precision oncology.
“This platform allows connection and communication between researchers, pathologists and clinicians with shared interests in precision oncology approaches across the VCCC. It allows us to highlight the progress we have made using bench-to-bedside translational research approaches.”
– Dr Stephen Luen, convener, VCCC Molecular Tumour Board
Examining Cancer From Every Angle VCCC Research Conference 2019
The second VCCC Research Conference The Next Wave proved to be a unifying and inspiring event for the Victorian cancer workforce in 2019.
Cutting edge cancer science merged seamlessly with consumer perspectives and patient stories to produce a holistic, multidisciplinary event. The broad-ranging program showcased the world-class research and cutting- edge clinical developments of VCCC members enhanced by international perspectives from global experts.
On 16-17 September 2019, 420 delegates attended the event at the Sofitel Melbourne, enjoying a program that tackled some of the trending topics in cancer from revolutionary new therapies and teletrials, to future health trends, cancer nursing and survivorship. There was a focus on fundamental science and its clinical application, as well as population health, government perspectives and policy.
The stellar line up of over 50 international and local speakers included:
- Olivia Newton-John OBE AC, founding champion of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre
- World-renowned cancer expert, Professor Doug Hanahan author of The Hallmarks of Cancer, the most cited cancer research paper of the last decade
- American physician scientist Professor Helen Heslop
- The Medical Futurist, Dr Bertalan Mesko
The event concluded with a public forum hosted by multi-award winning ABC science journalist, Natasha Mitchell and featured experts and consumers discussing the future of cancer care and cancer research in Victoria.
The event was convened by Associate Professor Kate Burbury, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Professor John Mariadason, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, supported by an expert committee.
"This was a fantastic conference. I was engaged, excited and inspired."
- Conference Delegate