Joint appointment in health services research and implementation science
Peter Mac and the VCCC Alliance are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Stephanie Best - Senior Research Lead: Implementation Science, to a leadership position spanning the two organisations. Dr Best will be based in Peter Mac’s Department of Health Services Research from 28 March.
Professor Maarten J. IJzerman leaves strong foundations for future potential
The many and profound impacts of COVID-19 pandemic have been felt again with the announcement that Professor Maarten J. IJzerman, internationally renowned Cancer Health Services research expert, current Chair of the VCCC Alliance Cancer Research Advisory Committee and Chair of Cancer Health Services Research at the University of Melbourne, will be returning to the Netherlands in May 2022. Maarten will be taking up an important new role as Dean of the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management (ESHPM) in Rotterdam.
Equity is a key pillar of the VCCC Alliance Strategic Program Plan 2021-24
As a step toward fulfilling our commitment to provide information and resources for respectful engagement and communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, the VCCC Alliance core staff team recently attended Building Aboriginal Cultural Competency workshops.
MDT review published in Cancer Medicine this week
Multidisciplinary oncology team meetings are crucial hubs for integrated, patient-centred diagnosis and treatment planning. Teams offer the potential to achieve more than any person could achieve working alone; yet, particularly in teams that are cross-disciplinary, it is critical to capitalise on the variety of knowledge, skills, and abilities available. Members of multidisciplinary teams (MDT), which include doctors, nurses and allied health clinicians, are well aware of the real-world constraints of putting principles into practice.
Congratulations to Professor Linda Mileshkin
Congratulations to Professor Linda Mileshkin, interim Director of Medical Oncology at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, who has been named the recipient of the 2021 Melbourne Business School (MBS), Jo Leonard Memorial Scholarship.
The $ 8,500 residential scholarship, offered to senior female leaders from the VCCC Alliance working in cancer research, is inspired by Jo Leonard, a long-standing and valued member of the MBS who died from ovarian cancer in August 2016.
Workforce initiative to boost expertise across the alliance
Melbourne MicroCert scholarships have been awarded to an impressive cohort of cancer clinicians, researchers, clinical trial study coordinators, postdoctoral scientists and PhD students from VCCC Alliance member organisations. The successful candidates represent many disciplines and research specialties from gynaecology and haematology to genomics, childhood and rare cancers.
Professor David Wiesenfeld on 3RRR’s Radiotherapy program
With World Oral Health Day coming up on 20 March, Professor David Wiesenfeld, VCCC Alliance Research and Education Lead for Head and Neck Cancer recently joined 3RRR’s Sunday morning Radiotherapy program to raise awareness of head and neck cancers.
Cancer should not need to be an equity issue
At present, the five-year survival rate for liver cancer is just 14 per cent for Indigenous Australians and 20 per cent for non-Indigenous Australians. It is estimated that 2,832 Australians will be diagnosed with liver cancer this year alone, with men three times as likely to be diagnosed as women.
While Australia boasts enormous research and clinical expertise in metabolic, infective, and inflammatory liver diseases, and is a world leader in the science and clinical practice of liver transplantation, there is not a single major program working on liver cancer.
Unveiling the uncomfortable truth in Aboriginal health and cancer outcomes
This year the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) began a new three-year 'Close the Care Gap' campaign designed to raise awareness about the numerous barriers that exist for people around the world in accessing the cancer care they need.
In Australia, data shows that the greatest disadvantage is borne by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Shifting Gears: Rethinking Survivorship
The 4th Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference hosted by the VCCC Alliance and the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre (ACSC) at Peter Mac will move from a hybrid to a fully virtual event next month as Victoria continues to grapple with Omicron’s impact.
While the decision was not an easy one, conference convenor Professor Michael Jefford said health and safety were top priorities. “We have become adept at managing virtual events during the pandemic and there are some advantages to the online format. A key consideration is safety of delegates and the broader health workforce,” he said.
VCCC Alliance Research & Education Lead Lung Cancer, new appointment
Associate Professor Gavin Wright, VCCC Alliance Research and Education Lead, Lung Cancer is the new Chair of Cancer Australia’s Lung Cancer Advisory Group.
The advisory group has a mission to provide clinical input and strategic advice in relation to the early design of a potential national lung cancer screening program for people at high risk of lung cancer in Australia and provide ongoing input to increasing awareness and uptake of Cancer Australia’s lung cancer resources.
A monumental loss of normalcy
As we approach the end of 2021 there is much to reflect upon. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said we can only understand our life by looking backwards, but we must live it looking forwards.
In some ways, the monumental loss of normalcy encountered this year gave those of us working in health and medical research even greater insight into the effects of the stress and strong emotions that are commonly felt by those who experience a cancer diagnosis.
Collaborative effort will shift care to patients outside Melbourne
A new allied health cancer clinical trials unit specialising in cancer supportive care and survivorship is to be established, thanks to a recent grant co-funded by Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Government through the Victorian Cancer Agency.
Cancer in Australia 2021 Report - 1 December 2021
Cancer survival rates in Australia are continuing to improve and the rate at which Australians are being diagnosed with cancer has been declining since 2008, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Hopes to increase referrals across Greater Melbourne
A new initiative from the VCCC Alliance Research and Education Lead (R&E Lead) Haematology program, led by Professor Con Tam is seeking to improve access to CAR T-cell therapy for patients undergoing treatment for blood cancer.
Recent showcase highlighted diversity of research
A recent meeting convened by Professor Peter Gibbs, Research and Education Lead (R&E Lead) Gastrointestinal Cancers, brought together close to 100 researchers and clinicians with an interest in colorectal cancer to review the extent of research among VCCC Alliance member organisations and to identify gaps and opportunities for collaborative effort.
Unlocking research funding and maximising professional education potential
The third annual consumer engagement forum on Friday 3 December, hosted by the VCCC Alliance Cancer Consumer Advisory Committee (CCAC) brought consumers and researchers together to learn about the potential for consumer advocacy, hear how consumers are having a greater say in research funding and how effective partnerships can shift the paradigm in both cancer research and education.
Bringing our best to the challenge
I watched world leaders gather for the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last week, and despite the scale of the challenge, I was inspired by the call to action from Sir David Attenborough in his address. I thought about our own challenges in healthcare and the parallels for our alliance, so reliant on people working together to effect change. Sir David talked about the climate story as being one of inequality and it is something I think about often as we seek parity in cancer prevention, detection and treatment...
VCCC Alliance Research & Education Lead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Following an extensive search, we are delighted to announce that Dr Kalinda Griffiths has been appointed as the new VCCC Alliance Research and Education Lead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
Dr Griffiths is Yawuru woman, born and living in Darwin. She is currently Scientia Fellow at the Centre for Big Data Research, UNSW and holds honorary fellowships at Menzies School of Health Research and University of Melbourne. Her appointment will enhance the alliance’s distributed leadership team capability which spans multiple tumour streams, health services research, primary care, cancer nursing, cancer education, palliative care, clinical trials, regional oncology, and cancer immunotherapy.
Embedding Aboriginal self-determination into health and healing research processes in Victoria
Victorian Aboriginal Community Control Health Organisation Inc (VACCHO), with Aboriginal organisations and communities, has been developing the principles, processes and components of a statewide Aboriginal Research Accord (the Accord). Victorian Aboriginal organisations and communities through community-led projects have foregrounded ethical Aboriginal health and healing research since the late 1980s.
The Accord is a chance to realise a long-held goal of ethical Aboriginal-led research for research projects which impact Victorian Aboriginal communities.
Cancer care and research: Learning from the past and improving the future
The VCCC Alliance will be well represented among the speakers at the COSA Annual Scientific Meeting, next week.
The theme of the 2021 multidisciplinary meeting is Cancer care and research: Learning from the past and improving the future and the event has a focus on Immunotherapy, Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs).
Funding sustains health research through challenging times
Victoria’s position as a national leader in health and biomedical research was certainly highlighted in the recent NHMRC Investigator Grants.
With 62 of the 105 Victorian grants awarded going to outstanding researchers within VCCC Alliance member organisations, there is good reason to feel optimistic and proud of the work and innovation happening here and the multi-faceted benefits this offers to the community, our state and the country.
Flexible academic and skill-based learning
With the rising incidence of cancer across the globe, there is a projected shortage of skilled practitioners in the oncology workforce. The Master of Cancer Sciences, Australia’s first cancer-specific, multidisciplinary, and wholly online program, was designed to meet this growing need.
In addition to the Masters program, short courses that provide access to leading oncological experts have just come online through the University of Melbourne. These courses are the Melbourne Microcerts Emerging Topics in Oncology series. The first subjects in the series are Clinical Trial Protocol Design and Drug Commercialisation Fundamentals. They are designed to provide skill-based credentialled learning, completed in 6 weeks.
4th Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference
How can our health systems adapt to better meet the needs of the growing community of people living with and beyond cancer? What are the recent advances in cancer survivorship research and care? What are the changes to practice and new models of care resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic?
These questions will be considered at the 4th Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference, Shifting Gears: Rethinking Survivorship to be presented by the VCCC Alliance and the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre (ACSC) on 24-25 March 2022 in Melbourne.
The DURATION Study
An NHMRC-funded investigator-initiated trial has commenced in Victoria with around 100 patients recruited from across VCCC Alliance hospitals.
The study is evaluating novel assays to detect circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) before and after lung cancer surgery.