Gutsy Challenge Funds Innovative Bowel Cancer Trial


Our latest AGITG Innovation Fund grant, made possible by the generosity of donations raised through our Gutsy Challenge initiative, was awarded to Dr Matthew Burge from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Dr Burge received a $100,000 grant for his MONARCC pilot study, which is focuses on advanced colorectal (bowel) cancer. Since receiving this grant Dr Burge has also been able to secure additional funding – enabling this trial to be offered to an extended group of patients, in turn improving the scale and impact the results of this study can have.

The research seeks to determine what the best initial treatment is for a patient population that cannot withstand the expected side effects of the commonly used combination chemotherapy regimens. This is a common patient population who are diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in Australia.

Treatment of advanced bowel cancer has improved significantly over the past few years. The number of different chemotherapy and targeted or “biologic” therapy options has also increased. Therefore, the complexity of treatment decisions faced by the treating oncologist have also increased.

For many patients, oncologists remain uncertain as to what is the best treatment regimen to use at diagnosis. In addition, the best sequence in which to prescribe all the available drugs is not known. Whilst there is a lot of clinical trial data emerging, many patients seen in daily practice do not fit the patient population enrolled onto these trials.

“The AGITG Innovation Fund is an important step in the process to develop new clinical trials.” commented Professor Tim Price, Chair of the AGITG/GI Cancer Institute. “The Fund supports research that will build on our programs and enables AGITG members to accumulate the data required to approach funding bodies for a larger scale clinical trial.”

The study will compare low intensity targeted therapy (panitumumab), without chemotherapy, which is generally well tolerated. The hypothesis is that panitumumab will be a safe, acceptable and convenient regimen to elderly and/or frail patients with newly diagnosed advanced colorectal cancer.

“Winning this award means a huge amount to me. The recognition of the importance of this research question from the AGITG is particularly gratifying,” said Dr Matthew Burge, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.   “I now plan to lead a national study which I hope will improve the treatment options and outcome for elderly patients with advanced colorectal cancer.”