Research collaboration

Accelerating progress through collective effort

Collectively, the VCCC alliance is Australia’s largest and highest impact cancer research program; members share a common goal and a commitment to work together, delivering cutting-edge cancer research.

Collaboration is a hallmark of our programs and the thread that underpins the very nature of the alliance. Yet it is not an outcome in itself. The past year has evidenced the benefits of collaboration in the scale, speed, efficacy and scope of efforts to tackle areas of need and opportunity.

Boosting immunotherapy

Researchers and PhD students from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the University of Melbourne, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Austin Health/Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute are now working side-by-side in the Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy on level 13 of the VCCC building.

60 researchers, 6 institutions, 1 centreOfficially opened by the Victorian Health Minister in July 2019, this collaborative environment has been structured to encourage and enable multi-partner, multi-site immunotherapy research projects that will fast track promising immunotherapy research into active clinical trials. Under the guidance of the centre’s Director, Professor Joe Trapani, there are already 60 researchers working in this unique space. The Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy is a partnership between the VCCC, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne.

Collaborative results

VCCC Research & Education Lead (R&E Lead) for Genitourinary cancers, Associate Professor Niall Corcoran of the Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne brought together a new combination of investigators from five VCCC member organisations and six cancer research disciplines.

The research proposal, (PRECEPT - PRostatE CancEr Prognosis and Treatment) leveraged VCCC programs, including Regional Oncology, to extend one of the proposed clinical trials to regional Victoria and harnessed the VCCC’s strong relationships with its consumer advisory groups. The proposal received $4 million from the Movember Foundation and Australian Government to examine prostate cancer prognosis and treatment, including ground-breaking new tests to identify which patients are most at risk of progressing to more advanced disease and which patients will likely respond best to different treatments.

Co-design in action

Working with patients and carers, as well as professionals in psycho-oncology, supportive care, cancer education and palliative care, the VCCC Building Connectivity Program has provided support mechanisms to accelerate innovation through working groups and capacity building initiatives.

Researchers, clinicians, psycho-oncologists and a radiologist from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne, Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Western Health will develop initiatives to gain a better understanding of integrating patient-reported outcomes into routine care, generate end-of-treatment roadmaps to assist patient support, and design an accessible, meaningful palliative care education module.

Supporting these initiatives will make substantive impacts on the patient journey with patient contribution. Best practice is accomplished through consolidation and resource sharing amongst VCCC alliance members, our collaboration partners, patients and people affected by cancer.