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12 Jun 2019

Collaboration opens access to funding

The VCCC alliance’s flagship collaborative initiative is the Research and Education Lead (R&E Lead) Program. Leaders with expertise in 10 tumour streams, cancer nursing and primary care, are progressing the aim of adopting new research evidence into routine practice. Aside from the scientific and clinical implications of this work, the program is a large-scale change-management project requiring trust, sharing, prioritisation and negotiation.

A positive example of success in a competitive environment was highlighted in the outcome of grant applications made to the Movember Prostate Cancer Research Alliance recently.

One proposal, led by the R&E Lead for Genitourinary Cancers, Associate Professor Niall Corcoran of the Royal Melbourne Hospital brought together a new combination of investigators from five VCCC member organisations and six cancer research disciplines. The research proposal, (PRECEPT - PRostatE CancEr Prognosis and Treatment) leveraged other VCCC programs, including connection to the Regional Oncology Lead, resulting in extension of one of the proposed clinical trials to regional Victoria. It also harnessed the VCCC’s strong relationships with its consumer advisory groups.

Associate Professor Niall said, “The VCCC has strengthened our relationships, not only within the alliance but with Melbourne-based bioinformatics groups and by opening up access to funding. It meant we didn’t have to invent collaborations. Existing processes provide access to consumers, there is media and communications, professional staff and frameworks. The mechanisms are in place.”

"You need time. These opportunities are built over a year or more. 
Ultimately collaboration comes out of mutual need.”
Associate Professor Niall Corcoran 

A further Movember PCRA grant was awarded to Associate Professor Arun Azad and Professor Michael Hoffman, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to run two trials into Lu-PSMA, a radioactive molecule that is purpose-made to kill prostate cancer cells.

Arun endorses the positive tensions of competition, “What’s really exciting I think is that two out of three alliances to be funded were out of Melbourne. And whilst it might be considered that we are in competition with each other, it clearly demonstrates the excellence of the work coming out of this precinct. There is so much activity that we actually needed to have two bids to encompass the scale of the multidisciplinary work going on. It is a reflection of how strong we are, and how we are regarded by an international review panel."

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