Clinical Network News: June 2017

Thursday 1 June, 2017

Introducing our new Chair and new Executive Committee members

This year we have a new Chair of the Clinical Network, A/Prof Andrew Wei. We also have six new Executive Committee members, as a number of members came to the end of their terms last year. The team welcomes Andrew to the role and the new members to the Committee. We look forward to working together closely to provide strategic advice and direction to the Clinical Network program and to identify and advocate on issues affecting cancer care in Victoria.

A/Prof Andrew Wei is an adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University and heads the leukaemia clinical trial program in the Department of Clinical Haematology at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne. His current activities include clinical and pre-clinical development of new leukemia therapies with a particular emphasis on targeted therapies.

A/Prof Wei chairs the acute leukaemia committee for the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group and provides advice to the Government on the Independent Health Pricing Authority. He completed his medical training in the University of Melbourne in 1993, specialist training in haematology and haematopathology in 2002 and a PhD in the Department of Molecular Genetics of Cancer at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 2005. He has an strong interest in investigator lead clinical research.

Read on to learn about our new members's qualifications and interest areas.

Cancer Care Coordinator project

Improved access to cancer care coordinators has been a priority for the Clinical Network for a number of years. In 2016 the Clinical Network funded Deakin University to undertake mapping of cancer care coordinators (CCCs) and those who performed care coordination roles across Victoria. The aim of the project was to ascertain the current landscape of CCCs across Victoria including identification of their geographical locations and scope of practice. The final report is now available and the Executive Summary can be found here.

This project builds on the literature review commissioned by the Clinical Network in 2014 regarding the impact of cancer care coordinators on patient care. The results provided data on the nature of the role, (i.e. the job titles, staff qualifications and experience and funding sources for the roles) their location across Victoria; the impact of cancer care coordination on patients, enablers and barriers to undertaking the role; and perceptions on the sustainability of the role.

Results of the survey indicate that during consultations with patients the majority of CCCs always:

  • Assessed the patient's clinical and supportive care needs
  • Provided them with information and education about their cancer
  • Planned and coordinated their clinical care, and
  • Referred them to other services

Read on to find out more about the results and recommendations.

Victorian clinical trials receive $2.5 million boost to improve patient access

We are proud to announce that Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Cancer Agency will fund $2.5 million in grants to four projects over three years at sites around Victoria to improve patient access to clinical trials.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said the aim is for as many people as possible to have access to a clinical trial. "Trials are a valid treatment option and are a component of a gold standard health care system.

In fact, standard treatments that extend and improve the lives of countless patients today are the result of clinical trials of the past. 

The grants will support initiatives to be run at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (medical oncology and radiation oncology), Border Medical Oncology Research Unit and Western Health.  

Read on for further information.

Trial Connect

Trial Connect is a free telephone peer support program that connects people who are considering participation in a clinical trial with a trained volunteer who has been through at least one clinical trial.

Speaking with a Trial Connect volunteer can provide practical knowledge and empower others to speak to their health professional about clinical trials. They provide an opportunity to discuss concerns about participating in a trial, gain a better understanding of what to expect in a trial and have insight for the types of questions to ask about trial participation. They are unable to comment on specific trials or outcomes and all conversations are confidential.

The Trial Connect pilot study supplements the enhanced improvements to the Victorian Clinical Trials Link website, funded by Ian Potter Foundation. Both initiatives aim to increase awareness and access to cancer clinical trials across Victoria, by providing platforms that are accessible and easy to use. Trial Connect volunteers have been recruited and trained in the Cancer Connect program and are required to have received at least one prior treatment in a cancer clinical trial.

To refer your patients to any of the Connect Programs (Cancer Connect, Gene Connect, Family Connect or Trial Connect) call 13 11 20 or email Cancer.Connect@cancervic.org.au

Victorian Cancer Trials Link (VCTL) relaunch

Following an extensive consumer review, the Victorian Cancer Trials Link (VCTL) website has been relaunched. The relaunch coincided with International Clinical Trials Day, May 20th this year.

Enhancements to the site have resulted in a fresh new look, improved functionality and new features. We have also focused on providing consumer accessible trial information for each clinical trial, alongside the clinical trial descriptions.  
 
The user-friendly portal will assist patients and health professionals in the search for clinical trials that are treating people across state, including those run out of rural and regional hospitals.
 
Other features of interest to clinicians include, an advanced search section (with a keyword function and filtering by trial type, phase and molecular target), links to trial registry pages to access inclusion and exclusion criteria and a suite of patient information resources suitable for your patients. The VCTL app for your Apple and Android device is also still being updated regularly.

We rely on trial information directly from health services and their clinicians, so if you would like to add a trial or correct any information on the website, please contact trialslink@cancervic.org.au
 

Education Retreat Clinical Consultation Skills Education Retreat

Cancer Council Victoria and Deakin University's Centre for Organisational Change in Person-Centred Healthcare are partnering to deliver the inaugural Clinical Consultation Skills Education Retreat at the RACV resort, Torquay, 9-11 October 2017.

Accepted internationally as the 'gold standard' in communication skills training, this evidence-based program is open to oncology clinicians to develop and enhance communication skills for real-world clinical scenarios.

Read on to find out more and to register.

Colorectal Cancer Conference, 17 - 18 August 2017. Save the Date

This year's Conference will be held at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Building in Melbourne.

The multidisciplinary approach to lower gastrointestinal cancer management remains the cornerstone of the approach of the conference involving medical practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals and laboratory researchers.

The program will cover state of the art clinical practice, including current areas of controversy and consider cutting edge translational research that may change practice going forward. Topics will include watch and wait, immunotherapy, tumour heterogeneity in colorectal cancer, rectal cancer, survivorship and prehabilitation.

For further information please contact the Conference Managers on 1300 792 466 or by emailing colorectalconf@icms.com.au

Victorian Cancer Agency 2017 Funding Round Now Open

The Victorian Cancer Agency is a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services that funds translational cancer research to improve clinical practice and outcomes for Victorian cancer patients.
 
The 2017 funding round will have an emphasis on workforce and the Translational Research Project funding scheme will not run.
 
The following funding schemes are now open and will close at 11.59pm on 8 August 2017:
  • Early Career Seed Grants Mid-Career Research Fellowships (incorporating the Victoria-USA Cancer Fellowship Exchange Program)
  • Medical and Dental Clinical Research Fellowships
  • Nursing and Allied Health Clinical Research Fellowships

More information, including guidelines, funding rules and a link to the application forms can be found on the Victorian Cancer Agency website.

Updated: 01 Jun, 2017