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06 Mar 2019
Press Release

Investigator-initiated trial program increases access to more than 6,000 patients

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

More than 6,000 patients with cancer in Victoria, nationally and internationally, will benefit from four new clinical trial projects to be supported by the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre’s (VCCC) Investigator-Initiated Trial Capacity Building Program with an investment of $3.7 million.

Victorian patients with blood; colorectal; lung or breast cancers and some advanced-stage cancers, will gain access to pivotal clinical trials through this program. The four projects encompass oncological disciplines not often associated with clinical trials: radiotherapy, palliative care, surgery and anaesthetics.

Improve treatment standards and increase patient care knowledge

VCCC Executive Director, Professor Grant McArthur said, “The breadth and depth of these investigator-initiated clinical trials will improve treatment standards and increase our knowledge for better patient care. In addition, this investment will expand Victoria’s investigator and clinical trial workforce through access to professional services offered by the program.”

“Early career researchers will lead three of the projects, while the fourth project places two early career researchers central to the management and implementation of the project. These early career researchers will be instrumental in implementing the entire research process from protocol development to data collection, analysis, and importantly, interpretation and translation of results into further research questions and proposed clinical application. This opportunity places these emerging leaders in a unique position to progress the development of their investigator skills and experience,” Professor McArthur said.

Investigator-initiated trials are established and managed by non-pharmaceutical researchers, who also retain responsibility for legal and regulatory requirements. Investigator-initiated trials are the number one unmet need for Victoria’s cancer research community.

Woman sitting at desk

Peter Mac Radiation Oncologist, Dr Fiona Hegi-Johnson

Support services improve quality of investigator-initiated trial quality

From idea generation to protocol development, the VCCC’s Investigator-Initiated Trial Capacity Building Program support package provides a knowledge bank, mentoring, assistance scheme and key service structures, including biostatistics, trial and site management.

Recent awardee, Peter Mac Radiation Oncologist, Dr Fiona Hegi-Johnson accessed the program’s Knowledge Bank during the application period to gain support, "We were so happy to receive the news that we had been successful in obtaining support from the VCCC for our clinical trial.

“We found the support of the VCCC team, and biostatistician, Anneke Grobler, absolutely invaluable in designing a clinical trial that was both feasible and competitive for funding. We would recommend that any team with an idea for a clinical trial consider applying for support."

Knowledge Bank and Trial Assistance Scheme

The VCCC Investigator-Initiated Trials Capacity Building Program is now open to intervention clinical trials that enable collaborations across two or more member organisations. See the expressions of interest opportunity for the application process and criteria, as well as support contacts.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Kate Khamly, kate.khamly@unimelb.edu.au, VCCC Program Manager, prior to application to begin a support requirements discussion.  

Acknowledgement

The VCCC’s Investigator-Initiated Trial Capacity Building Program is supported by the Victorian Government.