AGITG’s highlights during 2020

This year presented many challenges with the outbreak of COVID-19, but we have been astounded by the incredible community support we have received and the dedication of our researchers throughout the pandemic.

A few of our 2020 highlights include:

New research and clinical trials

  • The FORECAST-1 advanced colorectal trial, led by Professor Peter Gibbs and funded through the AGITG Innovation Fund, opened in September at 3 sites in Victoria. It has already reached nearly half of its total enrolment.
  • In the next few days, the OXTOX colorectal cancer trial is set to open at Concord Hospital. OXTOX is studying a treatment that could prevent or reduce painful side effects of chemotherapy treatment for advanced colorectal cancer.
  • The RANDOMS pancreatic cancer study received funding from a generous bequest and the community, and has moved into development.
  • The Best New Concept from the Annual Scientific Meeting, RESOLUTE led by Associate Professor Jeanne Tie, has been funded by Cancer Council Victoria and community-based fundraising. This promising study is looking at integrating local ablative therapy with first-line systemic treatment for unresectable oligometastatic colorectal cancer.
  • The MODULATE clinical trial for patients with advanced colorectal cancer, led by Professor Niall Tebbutt, completed patient enrolment and is now in follow-up, with the last patient expected to complete treatment in mid-December. This trial is investigating a new approach to immunotherapy for this patient population.
  • Thanks to outstanding community support this year, three Innovation Fund grants have been awarded for 2021 for new studies in neuroendocrine tumours, pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer.
  • Our researchers published 7 journal articles and there were 6 presentations at Australian and international conferences.

We welcomed our new Chair, Director and Consumer Advisory Panel members

  • We thanked outgoing Chair Professor Tim Price for his dedicated service, and welcomed Doctor Lorraine Chantrill as the new Chair in May.
  • We welcomed Dr Anne O’Donnell to the Board of Directors.
  • Oesophageal cancer survivor Geoff Parnell, and Milton Kirkwood who cared for his wife who passed away from pancreatic cancer, were welcome additions to the Consumer Advisory Panel.

Raising awareness and funds for GI cancer

  • The GI Cancer Institute continued to raise awareness and funds in 2021, with support from our dedicated GI cancer community enabling the opening of FORECAST-1 and OXTOX, the development of RANDOMs, and the awarding of three Innovation Fund grants.
  • The Living Room event series went online as we launched our webinar series and successfully held three webinars to raise awareness and improve education about clinical trials, rare cancers and the role of nutrition in GI cancer treatment and prevention.
  • Our November awareness campaign for Pancreatic and Stomach cancer received excellent media coverage with over 20 pieces of coverage including on Channel 10 News, 2GB and Sky News.

We are so grateful for your support this year. Your support is delivering new research and giving hope to people with GI cancer and their families.