GI Cancer Institute 2021 Highlights

As our 30 year celebrations come to an end, it’s a great time to look at the amazing achievements we have made this past year. For the last three decades, our mission has been to raise awareness and improve treatment options for people with GI cancer. Our history has proven that with your support we can continue to find life-saving treatments through ground breaking research.


New research and clinical trials

  • Our INTEGRATE IIb stomach cancer trial and RoLaCaRT-1 colon cancer trial have both opened to patient enrolment! INTEGRATE IIb is an international clinical trial that is part of our larger INTEGRATE study. This clinical trial test the combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which researchers hope can prolong overall survival and improve quality of life for those with stomach cancer.
    RoLaCaRT-1 is a new surgical clinical trial comparing robotic surgery to laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) for people with colon cancer and is the first of its kind in the world to determine the benefits of robotic surgery to laparoscopy.
  • Two GI Cancer Institute clinical trials conducted internationally achieved full patient enrolment and moved to the analysis phase. The TOPGEAR trial in resectable gastric cancer is trying to determine the best combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery to improve cure rates for stomach cancer patients. The ASCOLT trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of aspirin in improving overall survival in colorectal cancer patients.
  • Two Innovation Grant funded trials also closed to patient enrolment. The FORECAST-1 colorectal cancer trial reach it’s patient recruitment target in November and MONARCC colorectal cancer trial closed to patient enrolment in October. Thank you to the GI cancer community supporters and Gutsy Challenge trekkers who made these trials possible, through their generous donations.
  • Both the SSGXXII GIST trial and VADER colon cancer trial received Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants. Both these trials are due to open to patient enrolment in 2022.


GI Cancer Institute Grants

  • This year, GI Cancer Institute was fortunate enough to award two Innovation Grants at the AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting. Congratulations to Professor Eva Segelov and Dr Shehara Mendis who were named as the recipients of the 2021 Innovation Grant. The Innovation Grant is made possible thanks to the generous support of donors, through the Gutsy Challenge.
  • Thanks to the generous donations from our dedicated GI cancer community supporters, we were able to offer for the first time a Gastric Cancer Research Grant of $100,000. The purpose of the grant is to advance the understanding of high-grade gastric cancer and improve outcomes for patients with Linitis Plastica and Signet Cell Ring Carcinoma. Congratulations to Professor Niall Tebbutt who was named as the recipient in October.
  • Dr Daniel Croagh was awarded the GI Cancer Institute-Pancare Foundation Cholangiocarcinoma Idea Generation Workshop Grant. The $100,000 grant will go towards developing Dr Croagh’s comprehensive molecular profiling of advanced biliary cancer study.



  • This year we hosted two successful Idea Generation Workshops in Cholangiocarcinoma and in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). These workshops brought together experts to elevate ideas and encourage participants to offer constructive advice on future clinical trials. Several ideas from both these workshops are currently progressing through our Research Development Pathway and we are hopeful that these can impact future treatments for GI cancer patients.
  • Our Annual Scientific Meeting was held virtually and boasted a record attendance from 12-15 October. Over 500 delegates us for the many workshops, presentations, panel discussions, award presentations and Q&A sessions.
  • We also hosted two virtual community events for new and existing supporters. In May, we held another great Living Room Series on ‘Unlocking the Mysteries of GI Cancer & Finding Hope’ and an ‘Ask the Experts’ Engage Forum in October.


Staff Updates

  • We welcomed a number of new staff members to the AGITG/GI Cancer Institute this year. Alanna Melvin (Communications Coordinator), Rebekka Thompson-Jones (Acting Communications Manager) and Andy Luan (Database and Supporter Relations Coordinator). Our team is also building, with two new roles created in our research team. Dr Sarah Hayes joined as Translations Research Coordinator and Louise Christopherson as Clinical Portfolio Lead.

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