working party meeting

Researchers make progress at final Working Party meeting of 2019

Experts in GI cancer research met in Sydney on Friday 29 November to discuss the GI Cancer Institute’s current and upcoming clinical trials and research.

The meeting was held by the GI Cancer Institute’s Working Parties – two committees that meet bi-monthly to discuss the clinical trials that are conducted. The Upper GI Working Party is made up of experts focusing on cancers of the oesophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, stomach and liver, and the Lower GI Working Party members specialise in cancers of the bowel, rectum, and anus.

On Friday, both groups joined together to provide updates on current clinical trials, and explore how new research concepts could be progressed into clinical trials in the future. A total of eighteen trials and research concepts were presented and discussed, investigating areas including rare GI cancers, immunotherapy, robotic surgery, and liquid biopsies. Representatives from the Sydney Quality of Life Office provided feedback on the concepts to ensure that the patient’s quality of life was taken into account.

Thanks to the support from donors and the community for the GI Cancer Institute, meeting Convenor Dr Lorraine Chantrill announced that for the first time, three Innovation Fund grants of $200,000 would be awarded in 2020. This means that there will be two additional grants – in previous years, one $200,000 grant has been awarded.

Donor-funded trials were also high on the agenda. OXTOX, led by Prof Janette Vardy and Dr Christina Teng, which was awarded the 2018 Innovation Fund grant, and the 2019 Innovation Fund winner, ‘An organoid sensitivity testing driven umbrella study for patients with chemorefractory metastatic colorectal cancer’, led by Prof Peter Gibbs, were both presented.

The clinical trials presented that are currently open and recruiting patients encompassed a wide range of cancer types and treatment methods. In lower GI cancer treatment, in addition to OXTOX, the investigators of MONARCC and SPAR presented the current progress of their trials. In upper GI cancer, the investigators of ACTICCA-1, NABNEC, DYNAMIC-Pancreas, and INTEGRATE II all provided updates.

Attendees included experts from disciplines of medical oncology, surgery, radiation oncology, statistics, translational science, study coordination and allied health. The next Working Party meetings will be held early next year.