Discovery, Acceleration, Equity and Leadership
Discovery, Acceleration, Equity and Leadership are the four pillars of the VCCC Alliance Strategic Research Plan (SPP) 2021-2024 released last week.
I’m inclined to add a fifth pillar of flexibility given the plan’s development during the height of the pandemic and at a time when patients and the healthcare workforce have been challenged in so many ways. It is the most extraordinary achievement, and I am grateful to everyone who has held the vision and persisted in the development of the plan in difficult circumstances.
Publication forerunner to system-level change
Findings from the VCCC Alliance’s Strategic Research Plan relating to cancer clinical trial access have the potential to change the game for adolescents and young adults (AYA) in Australia.
An important paper, published in the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology and co-authored by VCCC Alliance Associate Head of Research, Associate Professor Justine Ellis, seeks to implement system-level change to improve access to clinical trials for this cohort.
Launch of the VCCC Alliance Strategic Program Plan 2021-24
“This plan is different. We started by asking why this work is important for patients, consumers and community. Putting that question first makes a real difference to the prioritisation of work and the nature of the programs being developed. It means the direction stays focused on patient benefit.”
These words from Ms Sophy Athan, Chair of the VCCC Alliance Consumer Advisory Committee, kicked off the launch of the VCCC Alliance Strategic Program Plan 2021-24 (SPP) last Friday 6 August, highlighting the strategic, purposefully different approach this new plan takes to delivering system-level change.
Join the VCCC Alliance senior leadership team
Due to a long-term member of our team relocating out of Victoria, the VCCC Alliance is offering a rare opportunity to join the senior leadership team as Head of Quality and Strategic Initiatives.
The position provides a wide range of variety and rich involvement across the organisation and alliance, covering strategic and business development, overseeing consumer involvement and equity initiatives and leadership for program management frameworks and evaluation.
Professor Andrew Scott AM appointed Research Translation and Commercialisation Lead
The VCCC Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Andrew Scott AM in the newly created role of Research Translation and Commercialisation Lead.
Professor Scott’s 20-year career as a cancer clinician/scientist features a host of leading research roles, including as Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Austin Branch) and President of the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology, as well as Professorial appointments at the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and Monash University.
Professor Sanchia Aranda AM appointed Deputy Chair of the VCCC Alliance
The Board of the VCCC Alliance has announced the appointment of Professor Sanchia Aranda AM, as new Deputy Chair of the alliance.
As the VCCC Alliance prepares to roll out an ambitious new three-year Strategic Program Plan, Professor Aranda’s 40 years of experience in cancer control will be an invaluable asset.
Three VCCC Alliance nurses featured in AJCN special issue
The Australian Journal of Cancer Nursing (AJCN) has produced a special issue featuring three research initiatives emerging from the VCCC Alliance Nurse-Led Research Hub.
In 2020, three nurses from VCCC Alliance member organisations were recipients of competitively awarded funding of $50,000 each to lead a multi-site nurse led research project, with a focus on improving the quality and safety of care for people affected by cancer.
Consumer-driven workshop puts patients at the centre
Identifying the gaps in breast cancer research may provide the key to innovative approaches and new ways to improve the outcomes for patients affected by breast cancer.
During July, representatives from the VCCC Alliance and a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals and breast cancer advocates from the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) were brought together by the Breast Cancer R&E leads Professor Bruce Mann and Dr Belinda Yeo.
Do you know someone interested in a career in clinical trials?
The VCCC Alliance is once again offering unique and highly sought-after internship opportunities for enthusiastic science/health graduates as well as PhD and post-doctoral graduates looking to build a career in clinical trials.
The 40-week clinical trials internship program provides successful applicants with the opportunity to learn and gain valuable skills and practical experience in cancer clinical trials at various participating sites across Victoria, commencing February 2022.
Three new emerging leaders are on the path to discovery
The 2021 winners of the prestigious Picchi Awards have added their names to an honour board already littered with successful scientists.
As we celebrate our newest crop of Picchi Award winners, we checked in with the winner of the 2017 Picchi Award in Clinical Science, the newly appointed Associate Professor Kathryn Field, to reflect on her remarkable journey thus far.
A vision for architecture as more than the sum of its parts
On Friday 6 August, The Hon Martin Foley, Minister for Health will join us at a special virtual event to launch the VCCC’s Strategic Program Plan 2021–24, which is supported by the Victorian Government through a $27 million investment over the next three and a half years.
Over the past 18 months, hundreds of experts from 35 organisations have actively contributed to shaping and forming this new plan. They have come together with shared agenda, bringing leadership, expertise, knowledge and determination to make things better.
Scientists join celebrated cohort for excellence in cancer research
The VCCC Alliance and Picchi Brothers Foundation are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Picchi Award for Excellence in Cancer Research.
Each year three talented researchers from VCCC member institutes are recognised with a $10,000 award to assist them in expanding their research and collaborate internationally, thanks to the Picchi Brothers Foundation.
New research shows patients with blood cancer experience higher psychological distress from risk of COVID-19 infection and unmet needs
New research highlighted in a recent edition of Pursuit from the University of Melbourne shows that for over 110,000 people in Australia living with blood cancer – including leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma – the challenges they already face have been exacerbated during the pandemic.
Data and dedication to better outcomes for patients represented in new initiative
A landmark project is leading the way in understanding patients’ end-of-life care, with the new findings promising to drive systemic change to improve the quality of care for patients with cancer, particularly use of primary care services. The large privacy-preserving data linkage incorporates primary care, hospital, emergency, outpatient and mortality data.
Statewide collaboration acknowledged in name change
In 2009 the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre was incorporated as a multi-partner joint venture with the aim of “delivering greater value in education, research and clinical services than each member organisation could achieve alone”.
Now this is a functional reality with the VCCC Joint Venture operating as a dynamic, progressive, system-changing alliance of 10 member organisations working together to deliver benefits across the Victorian cancer sector and ultimately to patients.
Australia's first ever, purpose-built comprehensive cancer centre
“This is Australia’s first ever, purpose-built comprehensive cancer centre, built with the vision to save lives by connecting the world’s best cancer research, education, treatment and care under one roof.”
Those were the words of Premier Daniel Andrews on 17 July 2016 as he officially opened the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Since then, the vision has become an exciting reality with a multitude of achievements notched up under its amazing glass roof.
Global trial for rare and aggressive cancer
Associate Professor David Gyorki, VCCC Research and Education Lead, Melanoma and Skin Cancers and Consultant Surgeon Peter Mac and Austin Health has successfully secured a grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) for the STRASS 2 trial in Australia.
The questions that keep us awake at night
A series of three online ethics seminars have been developed by the VCCC Research and Education Lead, Head and Neck Cancer program to look at ethically tough cases in the management of patients with the disease.
Led by Professor David Wiesenfeld and facilitated by Professor Clare Delany, a clinical ethicist at Peter Mac and Royal Children’s Hospital, the series is bringing people from multiple disciplines together to discuss and share experiences of ethically tough cases and to increase awareness of the ethical dimensions of clinical decisions for patients and clinicians.
Translation is complex and difficult. So let's do it
Pound for pound, Australia’s track record in medical research innovation is impressive by any standard. It’s not news that translating that to commercial application is our long-standing stumbling block. Yet we know how vital it is to our economy and there’s plenty of evidence to show that we can do it.
Regional responsibility to improve oncology services
Imagine living in a remote community with volcanic islands, green rainforests, and sandy beaches. Yet there is no cancer screening or population-based cancer registries. There are no cancer specialists.
According to a recent report, small nations such as the Solomon Islands have a lack of trained oncologists and formalised training programs.
About 75 per cent of the population live in rural areas or villages with no steady income. Many are subsistent farmers. By the time patients present with symptoms of cancer, it is usually too late.
Dr Nienke Zomerdijk, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Psycho-Oncology, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance has won the International Psycho-Oncology Society’s presentation award at this year’s conference.
The conference, held last month in Kyoto, Japan was attended virtually by psychologists, clinicians, and palliative and supportive care professionals from over 50 countries.
Talented, innovative part-time Leads sought
The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) has secured the opportunity to develop a patient-partnered cancer research project across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ).
We are seeking four specialists to join the foundational team with individual expertise in Health Data, Digital Communications, Genomics and Consumer Partnerships. Positions are part-time at approximately 2 to 2½ days per week.
Applications are sought for the following positions by COB Monday 21 June (extended from the previously advertised date of 16 June).
There is no evidence that people with cancer are at greater risk of side effects from the COVID vaccine than anyone else
That is one of four key messages being shared in a campaign to encourage people with cancer to get vaccinated.
The Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Taskforce is driving a new campaign to strongly encourage people with cancer to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
All people with cancer of all ages are eligible for vaccination now.
Advances in genomic technologies provide clues
Dr Sue Haupt is a Senior Research Fellow from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Dr Haupt spoke with VCCC’s online audience this week during Monday Lunch Live – a forum that showcases the work of experts from a range of cancer-related fields each Monday lunchtime at 1.00pm.
The VCCC Cancer Consumer Advisory Committee (CCAC) is a board subcommittee that participates in the vision and strategy of the alliance. Good governance dictates that representatives must ultimately move on and new people will join. It’s a good thing that ensures diversity, fresh perspectives, and a mix of skills.
But committee turnover comes with a cost. Relationships nurtured over many years and the hard-won nous of knowing how to get things done are not easily captured in a handover document.