It is heartening to see momentum around childhood cancers with the Australian Government confirming a dedicated day annually to raise awareness of the impact of childhood brain cancer. The inaugural Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day on 26 September highlighted the challenges of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) which is one of the most aggressive cancers to affect children, with no known curative therapies. Different cancers will be highlighted in subsequent years.
Do you like to think about new and better ways to do things? We are recruiting now for people who are passionate about teaching and learning and want to shift from accepted ways of working to creating something new and exciting.
One of the highlights of the VCCC Research Conference in September was the Great Debate.
Amid the wit (and occasional slander!) of the debate, the arguments presented revealed the complexity of the topic – this was further demonstrated by the difficulty both teams had staying on their side of the debate!
Trees saved and harmonisation achieved
Harmonisation of trial management across metro and regional Victorian clinical sites enables process streamlining, improves collaboration and efficiencies, and removes bottlenecks.
Working with Cancer Trials Australia (CTA), the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) has appointed two dedicated project officers to implement SiteDocs, an electronic document management platform, as well as facilitate training and support.
5th Psycho-oncology Conference - a chat with Professor Claire Foster
Claire Foster is Professor of Psychosocial Oncology and Director of the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group in the School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Southampton, UK. Her research focuses on advancing an understanding of health outcomes and experience of people diagnosed with cancer, treated with curative intent and self-management support.
Forthcoming Consumer Engagement Forum
In the past two years extensive consultation has resulted in a vision for consumer engagement across the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance. And now, many practical examples exist to effectively demonstrate how the VCCC is partnering with consumers to the benefit of Victorians.
Go in the draw to win - closes soon
Readers are invited to complete a short, 10 minute survey regarding the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre (ACSC) based at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Complete the survey and enter the draw to win a free registration to the 3rd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference, 12-13 March 2020, valued at $500.
Three new projects are underway
Three building capability grants worth up to $50,000 each have been awarded to nurses across the alliance to enable new nurse-led collaborative research projects.
Clinical trials can provide a fulfilling career path with a diversity of roles linking science, commercialisation and innovative patient care.
The VCCC, with the Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit (PCCTU), has created a clinical trial pipeline to train Clinical Trial Assistants and Study Coordinators so that motivated and talented individuals can immediately step into key roles.
Telling it like it is
We have been thrilled with the positive and productive feedback from last month’s Research Conference. Many have commented on how privileged they felt to witness the warm contribution from Olivia Newton-John in conversations during the morning plenary with me and during dinner with Professor Jonathan Cebon.
Successful conference at a glance
Cutting edge cancer science merged seamlessly with consumer perspectives and patient stories to produce a unique, wholistic event for the VCCC’s second major research conference. The event was held at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 September. The conference attracted over 420 delegates to the two-day event and a further 190 people registered to attend the free public forum on the closing evening. Sixty-one speakers were featured on the program including many contributors with a lived experience of cancer who chaired or spoke at sessions throughout the event.
Sixty-one speakers were featured on the program including many contributors with a lived experience of cancer who chaired or spoke at sessions throughout the event.
Support for clinical trials capacity building
Jo Cockwill, a member of the VCCC Cancer Consumer Advisory Committee (CCAC) presented a poster at the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) International Clinical Trials Conference in Sydney last week.
The poster: Investigator-Initiated Trials Development Panel: a consumer perspective is the result of months of involvement with the VCCC Investigator- Initiated Trial Capacity Building program that aims to build capacity and quality of researchers and is one of the 19 programs that make up the current VCCC Strategic Research Plan.
Good numbers to have
Eleven trial projects supported, four with secured funding, more than 6,500 potential national and international patients impacted, and over $7.2 million leveraged funding achieved.
Three years ago, the number one unmet need identified in the cancer clinical trials field was capacity in investigator-initiated trials. As a result, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) introduced the Investigator-Initiated Trial Capacity Building Program.
Early diagnosis of patients with oral or oropharyngeal cancers can save lives
This year the VCCC Research and Education Lead Head and Neck Cancer program hosted its first oral and oropharyngeal cancer forum to promote understanding of the crucial impact of early diagnosis and the effectiveness of multidisciplinary care for patients diagnosed with these types of cancer.
5th Victorian Psycho-oncology Conference: advancing comprehensive cancer care
How could you protect your young children from the impacts of your breast cancer diagnosis? What would it be like to be caring for your pre-schooler and learn you have a tumour? What are the additional challenges for patients for whom English is not their first language? How might a clinician support patients in these circumstances?
Master of Cancer Sciences
The VCCC was recognised at the international conference of Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) held in Bangkok on 27 September 2019.
The Master of Cancer Sciences, a collaborative, post-graduate online degree from the VCCC and the University of Melbourne was awarded an honourable mention in the academic division of the 2019 International E-Learning Awards.
Join the VCCC team
We are seeking people with a passion for enabling research and its translation.
A number of rare opportunities exist to work in our research development portfolio in the area of collaboration and change-making. The facilitating, stakeholder management aspects of these roles offer opportunity to extend your skillset beyond your core discipline. For example, the available roles may offer scientists who are good communicators the opportunity to extend your influencing skills or those interested in translational research the chance to extend your project management skills.
Have a say
The Department of Health and Human Services is conducting a series of consultations to help inform the development of the Victorian cancer plan 2020-2024.The development of the plan provides an opportunity for Victorians to have a say on how to improve cancer outcomes.
All those who are interested across the alliance, your patients and networks are encouraged to participate in a consultation workshop. If you are unable to attend in person, online consultation will be available through the Engage Victoria platform between 7 October and 4 November 2019.
Applications now open for 2020
Nurses who took part in the VCCC Nurse-led Research Hub Partnership Post program in 2019 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.
Defining treatment standards for the management of non-metastatic pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer is currently the 5th most common cause of cancer death in Australia and is predicted to become the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths globally by 2030.
An early evening forum in December, convened by Professor Peter Gibbs, VCCC Research & Education Lead in GI Cancers will provide an opportunity to review the latest local and international evidence with a view to developing consensus on treatment standards for this disease.
The Next Wave
I was a young post-doctoral scientist when I first encountered the work of Doug Hanahan, internationally-renowned cancer biologist and co-author of The Hallmarks of Cancer. Our lab was collaborating with Doug’s lab at a time when cancer biologists were defining the genetic drivers of cancer. Many of us around the globe were energised by the potential of these discoveries which ultimately laid the foundation for a whole range of new cancer treatments to benefit patients. Doug is the director of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne.
Dr Helen Heslop, Texas Children's Hospital Houston
The Leukaemia Foundation's State of the Nation recently released report found blood cancer is comparable in incidence and mortality to breast, lung and colorectal cancers. As a result of the research, the Australian Government announced a $150,000 taskforce to improve diagnosis, treatment and the understanding of blood cancers.
The Next Wave: the future of cancer care from Victoria and beyond
This year’s VCCC Research Conference will close with a conversation involving not only researchers, clinicians and educators but also local members of our community whose lives have been touched by cancer. Natasha Mitchell, multi-award winning journalist and presenter of ABC RN's science, technology and culture program and podcast, Science Friction will host the Q&A style event in the Grand Ballroom at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins.
Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program
Over 100 students, presenters and postdoc judges from VCCC member organisations attended the 2019 Comprehensive Cancer Student Symposium held at Leopard Lodge in Melbourne Zoo last week.
The annual symposium aims to highlight the exciting research of young scientists from the Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program, across many different scientific disciplines, who are aiming to progress their understanding and treatment of cancer together.
Advancing Comprehensive Cancer Care
In November, the VCCC will host the 5th Victorian Psycho-oncology Conference in Melbourne, bringing together the latest developments in psycho-oncology; understanding the psychological, emotional, social, and behavioural impacts of cancer.
Psychological challenges following a cancer diagnosis are at least as profound as the medical challenges, but the majority of financial and health professional resources are directed to the latter.