During this time of uncertainty due to the coronavirus COVID-19, rest assured there is cooperation among VCCC leaders and the healthcare sector to minimise the impacts whilst managing health and safety for all. Our active and mobile workforce is likely to be challenged for some while longer and I know you will support each other to make whatever concessions may be required for the benefit of all.
This month I find myself picking up where I left off in my last message; advocating for significant change in gender equity and health delivery parity. Thank you to everyone who attended or tuned-in to the International Women’s Day (IWD) event at the VCCC last week.
Submit your abstract by Friday 20 March 2020
Are you an early or mid-career postdoctoral researcher looking to showcase your work and develop your presentation skills in a supportive and educational environment? Get your abstract in now for the 4th VCCC Postdoctoral Symposium: Advances in Cancer Research to be held at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research on 12 June this year.
Building networks to extend scope and deliver improvements
Victoria’s cancer clinical trial units deliver some of the best services in the world, providing access to world-class infrastructure and implementation of a flexible and rapid regulatory framework. There are a number of cancer clinical trial sites across metropolitan and regional Victoria. Each site is different in size, growth, strategic alliances, focus and operations.
New and important networks have been developed by the VCCC Building Capacity Through Efficiency Program which is aligning efforts across the state.
Master of Cancer Sciences among most popular courses
The healthcare industry is Australia’s largest and fastest growing according to the 2019 Australian Jobs report, and is predicted to grow almost 15 per cent in the next five years. As the sector expands, it’s never been more important to work with the pioneers of the industry.
Women in Collaborative Leadership
To mark International Women’s Day 2020, the VCCC hosted a special Monday Lunch Live lecture with senior leaders from across the alliance to discuss the qualities needed by leaders in collaborative environments to drive innovation and culture change.
The VCCC lecture theatre was filled to capacity and many tuned-in online to hear from VCCC Chairperson and Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO as well as alliance member CEOs; Dr Sue Matthews of The Royal Women’s Hospital and Dr Shelley Dolan of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, accompanied by Associate Professor Kylie Mason, VCCC Cancer Education and Training Advisory Committee and Sophy Athan, Chair, VCCC Cancer Consumer Advisory Committee.
Alfred Cancer Trials and VCCC work together
Alfred Cancer Trials will implement their first cancer clinical trial using the teletrial model with support from the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC). The teletrial model developed by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) aims to improve clinical trial recruitment and diversity by increasing trial access to the broader Victorian community impacted by cancer.
Understanding and applying genomic results in haematological disorders
Haematologists at all levels, specialist and advanced practice nurses, researchers and students are invited to a forthcoming symposium hosted by the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Research & Education Lead Haematology program.
As the genomic identity of haematological disorders becomes better understood, we are moving closer than ever to adopting a precision medicine approach to managing individual patients.
Potential for standardised approach in localised pancreatic cancer
Standardising treatments for pancreatic cancer is an ongoing challenge – for a range of reasons.
Last year, the VCCC held the annual Pancreatic Cancer Symposium co-convened by Professor Peter Gibbs, Research and Education Lead in Gastro-intestinal Cancers and Dr Belinda Lee, consultant medical oncologist, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. The December meeting sought to address an identified gap in agreed treatment standards in early and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer.
This is the third year that the VCCC has marked World Cancer Day, an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control.
Held on 4 February each year, World Cancer Day is a great opportunity to add our voice to an international chorus speaking out about a disease that affects almost everyone. The premise of this awareness day aligns strongly with our efforts as an alliance and this year’s activities have been a particularly good illustration of our focus on meaningful consumer inclusion.
Special issue of the Journal of Global Oncology
Menzies School of Health Research is one of Australia’s leading medical research institutes, dedicated to improving Indigenous, global and tropical health. Two years ago, Professor Gail Garvey, Head of the Cancer Research Group at Menzies and a Kamilaroi woman from New South Wales, co-authored an open letter to the Lancet Oncology calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) and governments to prioritise improvement in cancer control for Indigenous people globally.
Metro Melbourne and regional Victoria
The expansion of clinical trials in Victoria is offering the prospect of a fulfilling career for young science graduates. Last year, the VCCC, with the Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, launched its internship program to assist candidates to embark on a career as a clinical trial assistant. A month after the program concluded, 100 percent of the participants were fully employed in the clinical trial sector in Victoria.
Scholarship for progressive program
The Melbourne Business School is offering a leadership scholarship valued at $12,000 for a woman working in the cancer field in a VCCC alliance organisation. Women aspiring to, or engaged in a leadership role are encouraged to apply for the MBS Leading for Organisational Impact: The Looking Glass Experience program scheduled for early May 2020.
The scholarship is provided in honour of Jo Leonard who was a long-standing and valued member of the Melbourne Business School.
Efforts to reduce the disparity for people living outside the city
Patients with cancer living in regional and rural Victoria experience lower five-year survival rates (66 per cent) than those living in metropolitan areas (70 per cent).
In 2019, the number of patients with cancer living in a regional area who received clinical trial treatment close to home increased by 34 per cent, with growth across Bendigo, Albury Wodonga, Ballarat, Shepparton, Warrnambool and Geelong, according to Victoria’s Regional Trials Network.
VCCC Nurse-led Research Partnership Post Program
Congratulations to the eight nurses from VCCC member hospitals who are being supported to undertake nurse-led research training and development during the next 12-weeks.
The nurses have been successful in gaining a place in the VCCC Nurse-led Research Partnership Post program and will dedicate two days each week to honing their research skills.
A speedy way to share mutual respect
The Woodward Conference Centre felt like the foyer of one of Melbourne’s concert venues on Tuesday evening.
But it wasn’t War Horse or the latest MTC play creating the buzz, it was the first-ever VCCC speed networking event between cancer consumers, clinicians, researchers, allied health and nursing professionals hosted by VCCC and the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.
Major multidisciplinary meeting
Dame Olivia Newton-John was a special guest at the VCCC Research Conference last year, identifying herself as person who is not only surviving but thriving, despite cancer.
The 3rd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference has harnessed a similar energy, bringing all ten VCCC alliance members together with international leaders in the field. Survivorship is everything that happens after a cancer diagnosis and initial treatment, so opportunities to influence improved patient outcomes and wellbeing are enormous.
An international team has completed the most comprehensive study of whole cancer genomes to date, significantly improving our fundamental understanding of cancer and signposting new directions for its diagnosis and treatment.
University of Melbourne Professor Sean Grimmond, who holds the Bertalli Chair in Cancer Medicine, led the Australian efforts which contributed approximately 10 per cent of primary samples from a broad range of tumours including pancreatic, melanoma, neuroendocrine, and ovarian cancer.
Monday Lunch Live - International Women's Day 2020
Traditionally invitations to the board room were the privilege of the C-suite: chief executives, finance and legal officers. Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre is a unique alliance which spans health, research and academic domains and its leaders require an understanding of the complexity and opportunities inherent in bringing disparate groups together. And inevitably, they need to know how to play well together.
Multidisciplinary group convenes first strategic meeting
Endometrial cancer is the most common and rapidly rising gynaecological cancer in Australia, yet research into the disease is relatively low. For women over 50, incidence is growing by 1.1% per year. But it is in younger women that the increase of incidence at 2.8% per year is worrying. For these women, the prospect of a potentially cancer-curing hysterectomy may be as devastating as the diagnosis.
New toolkit is proving to be popular
One of the significant achievements for VCCC was the launch of a Consumer Engagement Toolkit just before 2019 year-end. Despite the seasonal break, traffic to the toolkit on the VCCC website has been constant ever since.
The toolkit is enabling the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of VCCC consumer engagement to be shared broadly, with close to 2,400 pageviews and 144 sample documents downloaded since the portal opened.
Apply for a 2020 leadership development scholarship
The VCCC has partnered with Marlow Hampshire, a progressive and dynamic leadership development group, to provide a sponsored leadership opportunity for up to 10 talented researchers in 2020. Each scholarship is valued at $2,000 and the program will take place over four days with modules in April and May this year.
Lead the way towards better treatments and cures for childhood cancers
An exceptional opportunity is offered 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). Applications close 5 March 2020.
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.
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.