Since 1991, we have been committed to changing outcomes for people with gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer. Our key priority is to undertake research to improve patient care and medical practice. The 74 clinical trials conducted by the AGITG, since the group was first formed as a network of investigators, have involved over 8,800 participants treated at 121 sites in Australia, 8 sites in Aotearoa New Zealand and 125 sites located across Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.
The Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2000 and now encompasses a wide range of medical specialists, scientists, nurses, allied health professionals and consumers. The GI Cancer Institute is the community division of the AGITG, working across Australia to raise funds and awareness of GI cancer and clinical trials.
In 2008, recognising the need for greater involvement from GI cancer patients, survivors, carers and family members, we established the Community Advisory Panel (CAP). Most importantly, the CAP provides advice to the AGITG on general research directions and priorities from a consumer perspective.
As a group we have led and designed global studies with a focus on gastro-intestinal cancer. This includes cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, large and small bowel, rectum and anus. The AGITG also plays a major role in clinical trial research, globally, with links in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and North America.
AGITG medical research has:
- Been integral to worldwide changes in medical practice in a number of GI cancers: oesophageal, colorectal and gastro-intestinal stromal tumour cancers;
- Provided patients with new cutting edge treatments and high care support not otherwise available;
- Led trials in the treatment of stomach, rectal and anal cancer; and
- Established surgical guidelines in Australia for pancreatic cancer.
We have over 1,600 members from Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world. Together, these members not only bring diverse experience and skills, but the collective technical and logistical capability necessary to perform cancer trials. The engaged multidisciplinary membership, supported by key leaders promoting a culture of research, passion and goodwill; unite the membership with a clear mission and vision, ensuring governance committees with accountable and transparent processes.
Our key priority is undertaking Clinical Trials
Treating GI cancer is often very complex and, usually, requires a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and specialist drugs (chemotherapy). Clinical trials can improve patient care by evaluating which combination of treatments will work best for particular cancers and groups of people.
Clinical trials are not about laboratories and test tubes. They are about finding the optimal combination of medications, surgical techniques and radiation treatments to deliver the best results for real people dealing with a disease.
Conducting clinical trials in Australia means those patients in Australia can access the latest treatments three to five years earlier than if those trials were conducted overseas. Major advances in treating GI cancers and improving patient quality of life are possible as a result of clinical trials.
Raising awareness of GI cancer
The GI Cancer Institute is the community facing brand of the AGITG, raising awareness of GI cancer in the community and fundraising to support clinical trials. We raise awareness of GI cancer within the community through informative webinars, an active social media presence, collaborations with community-based groups, and media campaigns. We also provide patient resources including booklets and videos, and share patient and survivor stories to help support patients and their families through their GI cancer journey.
Our dedicated GI cancer community supports us in a number of ways: through regular appeals, community fundraising events, the Gutsy Challenge, bequests, and in memory giving. We continue to grow our regular giving supporter base, which provides us with financial stability to plan for the future.