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07 Oct 2019
10-October 2019

Trialing treatment responses to overcome cancer and manage symptoms

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

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.

The program provides support through a knowledge bank, involving investigator advice and coaching to develop concepts, and a Trial Assistance Scheme; trial management, site management and biostatistical support for selected projects.

VCCC Clinical Trials Development Lead, Professor Mark Rosenthal said,

“The VCCC clinical trials program is providing significant support to establish new clinical trials across a range of craft groups with an emphasis on bringing early career researchers into the field. Our ultimate aim is to benefit our patients and their families. The investigator-initiated trials program is a great example of uncovering an unmet need, establishing processes to address opportunities and making a difference.”

Changing the immune environment, reducing tumour development, inducing metabolic response and addressing anxiety

Four projects have recently been selected to be supported by the Trial Assistance Scheme, impacting prostate, blood and skin cancer treatments, as well as managing anxiety in adults with advanced cancer.

Using a virus that destroys cancer cells, Professor Niall Corcoran from the Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne will seek to change the immune environment for patients with prostate cancer, to enable a better response to treatment. Professor Corcoran is also a VCCC Research & Education Lead for Genito-urinary cancer

Dr Emma Hiscutt, Alfred Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will trial a treatment to reduce development and aggressiveness of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSS), a skin cancer that accounts for around 30 per cent of all skin cancers in Australia.

Dr Eliza Hawkes, Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute and Austin Health (pictured above) will trial a combination therapy to induce high rates of complete metabolic response in previously untreated follicular lymphoma.

Anxiety is common in adults with advanced cancer, impacting quality-of-life, relationships and day-to-day functions at a critical time. Dr Nicola Atkin from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will design a trial to compare treatment options in managing anxiety for patients with differing needs as their cancer advances.

Further information, queries and supported projects

The VCCC Investigator-Initiated Trial Capacity Building Program is managed by Kate Khamly, VCCC Program Manager.

Contact Kate for queries; see the Investigator-Initiated Trials webpage for details of earlier supported projects.