Translating research into care

Collectively VCCC members represent the majority of cancer research, clinical trials and patient numbers in Victoria. The alliance has developed innovative systems and processes that overcome barriers and promote sharing and connections across organisations. These initiatives enable research discoveries to be to be rapidly translated into trials that help ensure patients benefit as quickly as possible from the latest research.

Decision-making with real-world data

Combining conventional trial methods with routine registry systems has enabled simple, pragmatic questions to be answered, based on cost-effective, real-world evidence.

The VCCC Registry Trial Program has successfully piloted a novel design that uses data collected during regular care to produce baseline measures and evaluation of multiple treatment strategies. The method enables large numbers of patients to participate and is providing insights into how clinicians can best make evidence-led treatment decisions for individual patients.

The first patient recruited to a cancer registry trial occurred in October 2018, subsequently three trials have been opened across multiple clinical trial sites.

Big data = big gains

The VCCC’s collaboration with BioGrid and the University of Melbourne is on the cusp of delivering game-changing, accessible data including primary care clinical data linked to hospital records. Once gold-standard cancer diagnosis and death data from the Victorian Cancer Registry is also linked, the new VCCC Cancer Health Data Hub will enable researchers to mine cancer ‘big data’ for insights into the care patients receive from general practitioners before and after cancer treatment and uncover factors that affect patient outcomes.

46,000 recodrsThe Hub is yet to be officially launched, however researchers from the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research have already begun to investigate care pathways for the approximately 13 per cent of all 16,000 Melbourne Health cancer patients who have a linked primary care record. The number of cancer health services research projects accessing data through the Hub is expected to rapidly expand over the coming year.

Genomic advances

A new protocol based on clinical criteria for selecting, enrolling and testing patients using either a Comprehensive Cancer Gene Panel or Whole Genome Sequencing has been developed, with the first patients enrolled in May 2019.

18 patients enrolled for genomic testingThe innovative protocol was collectively developed by oncologists from across the alliance to allow new flexible clinical decision-making (rather than fixed eligibility criteria as would be usual for a specific research study or clinical trial) to provide access for the patients most likely to benefit to the latest in genomic testing. This includes the Illumina next-generation whole genome sequencing platform led by Professor Sean Grimmond at the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research. To date, 18 people have been enrolled for sequencing through the program.

The program will also evaluate the impact of tumour genomic sequencing results on clinical treatment decisions. Ultimately the outcomes from this program will inform the processes and systems that will be required to fully integrate cancer genomics into routine clinical care in Victoria.