Dr Matthew Burge with Professor Tim Price

AGITG Innovation Fund awarded

Dr Matthew Burge from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital has been awarded the 2016 AGITG Innovation Fund.   The AGITG Innovation Fund is made possible by the generosity of charitable donations raised through the GI Cancer Institute  Gutsy Challenge.

Dr Burge has received a $100,000 grant for his pilot study   titled:   MONARCC Study: A randomised Phase 2 study of panitumumab monotherapy versus panitumumab and 5 Fluorouracil as first line treatment for RAS and RAF wild type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

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

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.

This trial 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.

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.”