Pictured: Prof. Tim Price, Chair AGITG Board & Innovation Fund grant recipient, Associate Professor Chris Karapetis.
Associate Professor Chris Karapetis from Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders University has been awarded the 2017 AGITG Innovation Fund. The AGITG Innovation Fund is made possible through generous contributions from the Spencer Gibson Foundation, the His Honour Alan Bishop Fund and with donations raised through the GI Cancer Institute’s Gutsy Challenge.
A/Prof Karapetis has received a $200,000 grant for his pilot study titled: Prospective Study of ‘Watch and Wait’ Strategy in Patients with Rectal Cancer who have Developed a Clinical Complete Response with concurrent Chemo‐radiotherapy: RENO trial (REctal cancer No Operation).
“Awarding the AGITG Innovation Fund to RENO supports a trial that has the opportunity to translate into real changes in practice for patients with rectal cancer,” commented Professor Tim Price Chair, GI Cancer Institute. “RENO is multidisciplinary study that addresses a clinical dilemma that comes up in our multi-disciplinary team meetings on a weekly basis and we are thrilled to provide funding that will hopefully determine the answers to these questions.”
According to A/Prof Karapetis, rectal cancer is a common malignancy and comprises a third of the cases of colorectal cancer. Currently, combination of chemotherapy plus radiotherapy followed by surgical resection of the rectum is the standard management of locally advanced rectal cancer. Approximately 20% of patients develop a pathological complete response to chemoradiation. In these patients, surgery may not be necessary. A/Prof Karapetis commented that there are retrospective studies showing the safety of a watch and wait strategy instead of surgery in patients who do not have any signs of disease after completing chemoradiation. This approach may save the patient from surgical risks and long‐term morbidity.
With this study, the aim will be to assess the safety of the watch and wait approach in this population and prove the feasibility of a structured follow up program. The study will also assess novel biomarkers, patient reported outcome measures and health economics; none of which have been studied in this population.
“It is a great honour for me to lead this study with the recognition and support that the AGITG Innovation Fund Grant provides,” said A/Prof Karapetis. “I anticipate that our study will guide clinical practice and I hope that findings will lead to a clinical meaningful improvement in patient outcomes. On behalf of all the investigators involved with the RENO study, I sincerely thank the AGITG.”