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February 2017

Landmark study unlocks secrets of aggressive prostate cancer

A landmark study, led by Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute, has revealed the reason why men with a family history of prostate cancer who also carry the BRCA2 gene fault have a more aggressive form of prostate cancer.

The study, published today in Nature Communications, involving a consortium of Melbourne and Toronto researchers and clinicians, reports the molecular profile of the prostate cancers in men with the BRCA2 fault is similar to the profile seen in patients with advanced cancer: explaining why – right from diagnosis – BRCA2 patients have a poor outcome. Continue reading »

MPCCC plans for the future of cancer care and research
MPCCC is working to deliver a five-year strategic plan that will consolidate our partner’s cancer priorities and drive MPCCC’s future activities in advancing cancer care and research across our region. The role of MPCCC is to enhance collaborative opportunities between researchers and clinicians and between partner organisations in order to improve cancer care and outcomes for patients. Read more »

MPCCC investigators succeed in latest VCA funding round
The latest Victorian Cancer Agency funding round has injected $12.2 million to support cancer research projects designed to fast-track research into clinical practice and develop new treatments that deliver better cancer care. MPCCC would like to congratulate Dr Luc Furic from Monash University, who was awarded a VCA Mid-career Research Fellowship for his project “Targeting MYC driven prostate cancer by combining targeted radionuclide therapy with ribosome biogenesis inhibition as a new therapy in castration resistant” Read more »

MRI could prevent one in four prostate biopsies
MRI should be used before biopsy in men with suspected prostate cancer, with new research showing it would save one in four men from unnecessary biopsies, experts say. The study of almost 600 men with suspected prostate cancer found that performing an MRI prior to their first transrectal ultrasound biopsy doubled the rate of correctly identified aggressive cancers and reduced overdiagnosis of harmless cancers by 5%. Read more »

Scalp cooling technology success for cancer patients

Scalp cooling technology at Cabrini is a proven success for patients who want to reduce the likelihood of hair loss during chemotherapy treatments, according to a clinical trial. Hair loss is a common yet devastating side-effect of chemotherapy: a constant reminder and a public sign of the illness. For some people, hair loss is a reason not to undergo chemotherapy treatment. Read more »

Forensic techniques enable study of cancer cells from archives
A new technique that enables researchers to study single cells from older samples taken from people with breast cancer is opening the door to new findings about genetic changes that make cancer aggressive. Read more »

Harnessing the immune system to tackle cancer
Professor James Whisstock, a Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute researcher and Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, is part of a team from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and The University of Melbourne who were awarded an NHMRC Program Grant Read more »

Monash Health doctors give back life
Until July this year, Grace Day had never had a sick day in her life.  The 85-year-old swam 3km three times a week and regularly won gold medals in her age group at Masters swimming competitions. It came as a total shock when Grace was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. A non-smoker and teetotaller, Grace’s cancer was caused by passive smoking—she had worked at Australia Post her entire life surrounded by colleagues who smoked. Read more »

Advanced Health Translation Centres collaborate to access MRFF funding
Since their formal acknowledgement as Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTC) by the NHMRC, the four Australian centres (Monash Partners, Sydney Health Partners, SA Academic Health Science and Translation Centre and Melbourne Academic Centre for Health) have been meeting regularly with the NHMRC and also have been building a national alliance. Read more »
New clinician-researcher appointment adds to MHTP cancer leadership
MPCCC welcomes Associate Professor Eva Segelov to the Monash Health Translation Precinct in her new role as Director of Oncology at Monash Health and Professor of Oncology in the Department of Medicine, Monash University. Read more »

Australia Day honours recipients
MPCCC congratulates the following leaders from our partner organisations for receiving 2017 Australia Day Honours awards, and for the contributions they have made to our community. A/Prof Gary Richardson, Head, Cabrini Monash Department of Medical Oncology - Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division (OAM) Read more »


Australian Approval For Drug That ‘Melts’ Leukaemia

A new anti-cancer drug with the power to ‘melt away’ certain advanced forms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) has been granted approval by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), following equivalent approvals in the United States and European Union. Read more »

Even late chemo may help lung cancer patients
Patients who recover slowly from surgery for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) - the most common form of the disease - may still benefit from delayed chemotherapy started up to four months after surgery, according to US scientists. Optimal timing for chemo following surgery is poorly defined, but their study of 12,473 patients found that those given late chemo were less likely to have died five years later than patients given surgery alone, although the study cannot show that the chemo actually caused the reduced risk of death. Read more »

New blood test for bowel cancer
A new, more accurate blood test for bowel cancer developed by Australian scientists could lead to a reduction in the number of deaths from the disease. The innovation, known as Colvera, is the result of a collaboration between CSIRO, Flinders University and Clinical Genomics, who have today launched the product in the US. Read more »

Melanoma research breakthrough gives hope for treatment
A QUT-driven project has identified the way in which melanoma cells spread, opening up new pathways to treatment via drugs to ‘turn off’ the invasive gene. Led by Dr Aaron Smith from QUT’s School of Biomedical Sciences within the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at the Translational Research Centre, the project results have just been published in international journal EBiomedicine and could offer a new avenue for cancer treatment. Read more »

Making more cancer drugs affordable for all Australians
From 1 February, Australians have subsidised access to new drugs for ovarian and lung cancer – which would otherwise cost more than $100,000 per course of treatment – but are now available for just $6.30 for concessional patients and $38.80 for general patients. Read more »

Predicting and preventing prostate cancer spread
University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered a new pathway which regulates the spread of prostate cancer around the body. Published in the journal Cancer Research, the discovery has potential to lead to the development of a blood test that could predict whether cancer will spread from the prostate tumour to other parts of the body. The research also reveals potential new targets for drugs that may inhibit the spread of cancer. Read more »

Doctors concerned growing waiting lists for colonoscopies could prove fatal
Bowel Cancer Australia says less than 20 per cent of bowel screening participants who require a colonoscopy are getting it within the recommended 30 days. Waiting lists for colonoscopies have been growing across the country, with some patients waiting up to a year to access one in the public health system. Doctors are concerned the delays could prove fatal for some people. Read more »
Cancer stats care of new AIHW web products
Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing has launched two new AIHW web products to provide geographic information on cancer incidence & mortality and screening participation rates. These reports can generate graphs/tables of data at Primary Health Network and Local Government Area level as well as supporting downloading of excel files.

Implementation model for tele-trials
COSA has released its national implementation model “Access to clinical trials closer to home a tele-trial model”. The purpose of the document is to outline key considerations for increasing access to clinical trials for people with cancer living in remote and rural locations through the use of telemedicine.

Human biospecimans available from Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN)
If you are currently conducting grant projects that need human specimens, the US based Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) can be your resource for human biospecimens. The Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) is a prospective biospecimen procurement resource funded by the NCI to assist you with your biosample needs. The CHTN can provide malignant, benign, diseased and normal biospecimens to the research community. These samples are available in a variety of preservation methods including fresh, frozen, paraffin embedded blocks or histologic slides.

Monash Biomedical Imaging can enhance your grant applications
Would you like to include an imaging component into your preclinical or clinical research grant application? Do you need advice on how imaging capabilities can enhance your proposal? As well as providing a full suite of world-class biomedical imaging equipment, Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI) also offers imaging support and advice for grant applications. Our imaging experts help researchers in medicine, science and engineering improve their projects through various imaging techniques and analysis. Email or phone 9905 0100 to find out how MBI can help with your grant application.

Lung Cancer MDT Directory
Lung Foundation Australia has developed a Lung Cancer MDT Directory. It is the first directory of its kind and has developed as a resource for clinicians, patients and consumers. It is intended to facilitate referrals of patients to hospitals delivering MDT-based lung cancer management.

BCNA introduces new information resources for culturally and linguistically diverse women 

Women diagnosed with breast cancer can now receive information in Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Mandarin, Italian, and Vietnamese, as well as English. More info

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) have produced a range of booklets, which also come with an audio CD for women who would prefer to hear the information rather than read it. These booklets are available by contacting BCNA email or telephone 1800 500 258.

There are also videos of women speaking Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Mandarin, Italian, and Vietnamese telling their story and sharing their personal experience with breast cancer. More info.

Supporting clinicians to understand the issues of carers
The Southern Metropolitan Region Palliative Care Consortium (SMRPCC) has developed a new resource, Improving Carer’s Quality of Life to support clinicians to understand the issues of carers. It outlines various areas of decision-making and discussion that may be relevant to carers and their loved ones as they negotiate the impact of a life-threatening disease.
Victorian Cancer Council Postdoctoral Cancer Research Fellowships
Applications due by 7 April. More information »

The Movember Foundation – National Breast Cancer Foundation Prostate and Breast Cancer Research Collaboration Initiative
Applications due by 31 March More information »

NHMRC Funding Opportunities: January – April 2017
More information »

Better Health Victoria Innovation Fund
Expressions of Interest open 14 March More information »

National Health Genomics Policy Framework
Now open for comment, consultation closes 8 March. More information »
HISA NSW Symposium
Date: Friday 3 March
Where: Sydney
Information and bookings

Improving Outcomes for Cancer Survivors
Date: Tuesday 21 March
Where: Cabrini Hospital, Malvern
Information and bookings

A Moonshot Approach to Cancer
Date: Thursday 23 March
Where: The Royal Society of Victoria​
Information and bookings

Australian Lymphology Association 2017 Biennial Symposium
Date: Saturday 6 May
Where: Rydges Melbourne​
Information and bookings

VICS Conference
Date: 11-12 May 2017
Where: Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre
Information and bookings

Immunotherapy Conference
Date: 10-12 May
Where: RACV Cape Schank
Information and bookings

2nd Australian Cancer and Metabolism Meeting
Date: 15-17 May
Where: VCCC Melbourne
Information and bookings

Cell Signalling and its Therapeutic Implications
Date: 17-19 May
Where: RACV Cape Schank
Information and bookings
Cancer Nurses Society of Australia 20th Annual Congress
Date: 15-17 June
Where: Adelaide Convention Centre
Information and bookings

International Lymphoedema Framework Conference
Date: 21-24 June
Where: Siracusa Sicily, Italy
Information and bookings

Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program Community of Practice
Date: Wed 21 June or Thur 23 November
Where: Melbourne
Information and bookings

Oncology study days available at Alfred Health for Nurses
Introduction to Oncology study day 1
Wednesday 29 March

Introduction to Oncology study day 2
Wednesday 18 October

Transfusion study day
Thursday 15 June

Haematology Study day
Tuesday 27 June

BMT study day
Tuesday 21 November

These study sessions are available at no cost for all SMICS member health services nurses. Information and bookings

Therapeutic Approaches Targeting MYC-Driven Prostate Cancer. Read article »
Germline BRCA2 mutations drive prostate cancers with distinct evolutionary trajectories. Read article »
The prognostic value of stromal FK506-binding protein 1 and androgen receptor in prostate cancer outcome. Read article »
Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspirate-derived preclinical pancreatic cancer models reveal panitumumab sensitivity in KRAS wild-type tumours. Read article »
Therapeutically blocking Interleukin-11 Receptor-α enhances doxorubicin cytotoxicity in high grade type I endometrioid tumours. Read article »
Reliable gene expression profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast cancer tissue (FFPE) using cDNA-mediated annealing, extension, selection, and ligation whole-genome (DASL WG) assay. Read article »
ISL1 is a major susceptibility gene for classic bladder exstrophy and a regulator of urinary tract development. Read article »
Study protocol of an equivalence randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of three different approaches to collecting Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) data using the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry-Victoria (PCOR-VIC). Read article »
A need to simplify informed consent documents in cancer clinical trials. A position paper of the ARCAD Group. Read article »​
MPCCC is the Cancer and Blood Disease Theme of the Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and represents a formal alliance of the Monash Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MCCC) and the Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Services (SMICS). Our partner organisations include Monash University, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Alfred Health, Monash Health, Peninsula Health and Cabrini Health and Eastern Health.
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