Best of New Concepts, 2019

New research into the potential benefit of immunotherapy for neuroendocrine tumour (NETs) patients has been recognised at the AGITG’s 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.

Dr Mark McGregor was awarded the Best New Concept Award at the meeting’s New Concepts Symposium for the concept titled:  ‘A phase II study of oncolytic immunotherapy of metastatic neuroendocrine tumours using intralesional rose Bengal diodium in combination with pembolizumab’.

This study was investigating the potential of this agent, which is injected directly in to the cancer cells, to improve and activate an immunotherapy response within metastatic Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) that are located in the liver.

NETs is a rare cancer that often presents in areas of the gastro-intestinal (digestive) tract. Treatment options are limited so this research hopes to improve responses and outcomes to treatment shown to be effective in other settings.

“The benefit of an award like this is it allows us to present these new concepts and collaborate with our colleagues to help get tips and ideas to get the research off the ground and further supported.

In rare cancers in particular collaborative efforts, through organisations like the GI Cancer Institute & AGITG – are particularly helpful. These are traditionally cancers that struggle to get funding as patient population numbers can make it cost prohibitive. New developments rely on the generosity of individuals and organisations like GI Cancer Institute to fund research with smaller patient numbers and to find answers for tumours that we really don’t have optimal treatments for.”

The New Concepts Symposium is sponsored by independent biopharmaceutical company Specialised Therapeutics, in a key demonstration of its commitment to cancer research and the development of new therapeutics that may change lives.

The Symposium featured four excellent new presentations of embryonic research concepts. After each concept was presented, AGITG members asked questions to each presenter and voted on the feasibility of each. As part of the AGITG research development pathway, each concept can be submitted to the Upper and Lower GI Working Parties for review and further development.

Specialised Therapeutics Australia Chief Executive Officer Mr Carlo Montagner said he looked forward to seeing this research evolve in the clinic.

“All great breakthroughs begin with a single idea,” he said. “We are proud to again support the New Concepts Symposium and will watch with interest as this concept is progressed through relevant clinical studies before hopefully, changing outcomes.”

Image: Dr Mark McGregor (centre) accepting the Best New Concept Award with AGITG Chair Prof Tim Price (right) and Specialised Therapeutics team.