Wise investment for the best outcomes
As we approach the end of 2019 it is exciting to reflect on current achievements. We are very much looking forward to 2020 as we continue to forge new approaches to cancer treatment, while doing our best to make them available to all Victorians.
The Victorian State Government’s investment of $35.8 million over four years to fund the VCCC’s 2016-2020 program has delivered outcomes in clinical trials development, workforce capacity, high impact cancer research programs and new ways of working that will hasten the translation of research discoveries to clinical care for patients.
Twenty students awarded VCCC scholarships
The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre has awarded 20 scholarships for students to undertake the Master of Cancer Sciences postgraduate study program in 2020. Scholarships are valued up to $6,480 each. Congratulations to all the scholarship winners and thank you to the students we spoke with who shared their aspirations for next year.
VCCC Consumer Engagement Toolkit shared
Plain language and a collaborative approach won the day at the VCCC Consumer Engagement Forum this month. Trust, mutual respect and finding the right person for the job were highlighted as attributes of good consumer engagement.
The forum brought together 120 people who are consumers or desire to work with consumers from across the Victorian cancer sector.
Registrations open for major scientific meeting and public forum
The VCCC Research & Education Lead, Breast Cancer program is hosting its first major conference and public forum 20 & 21 February 2020. Please join us to discover what is new, challenging and controversial in the neoadjuvant management of patients with breast cancer.
Collective expertise develops smart approaches to clinical trials
Approaches to clinical trials are changing with the trend towards personalised medicine, as the discovery of new biomarkers and genetic mutations for smaller populations create a difficult environment for designing clinical trials.
Increasingly, cancer treatments target small populations, are given in combination, and at times, pose a significant cost to the health system. Through the VCCC’s alliance collective expertise, there is an opportunity to develop smart, adaptive clinical trials to translate discoveries and enable improved patient health outcomes.
Lead the way towards better treatments and cures for childhood cancers
An exceptional opportunity to work in partnership with world-leading organisations to drive research, teaching and training, and clinical care delivery.
The Children's Cancer Foundation Chair is a new leadership position made possible by generous funding from the Children’s Cancer Foundation in collaboration with key Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) partners: The University of Melbourne, The Royal Children’s Hospital, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI).
Compelling evidence results in improvements to data access
In 2013, the McKeon report highlighted that health services research is critical to understand, assist and evaluate research translation to improve the effectiveness of the Australian healthcare system. International experience showed that a systematic, academic program of outcomes-focused health services research can assist in getting the latest advances to cancer patients.
The evidence was compelling but there was a major barrier in the way.
3rd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference
Early in 2020 we are looking forward to a compelling line-up of speakers, exploring a broad range of issues at the 3rd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference, A 2020 Vision – Building on learnings… partnering for success.
This will be the third time the major meeting has occurred in Melbourne, with a sold out inaugural event in October 2016, and an equally successful conference in 2018.
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.
Building clinical trials workforce
Clinical trials enable faster translation of research to care for patients and requires a highly trained workforce – particularly if Victoria is to expand its clinical trials activity.
The VCCC SKILLED internship program – which focuses on Clinical Trials Assistants and Study Coordinators, key roles in a clinical trials team – helps Victoria build job opportunities for the future and grow Victoria’s clinical trials workforce.
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.