Thank you to GI cancer research pioneers

This past few weeks, the AGITG Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) has undergone a renewal process. Providing opportunities for new members to take an active role in shaping our research direction is crucial to develop the future leaders of the AGITG, and our research in GI cancer.

The AGITG would like to express our considerable gratitude to the outgoing members of the SAC. These individuals have led and shaped the direction of our research with both wisdom and boldness, and now are retiring to provide these opportunities to others in the organisation.

Their dedication to improving GI cancer practice have left a lasting impact through the AGITG’s formative years and will continue to beyond.

Prof Andrew Barbour

Prof Andrew Barbour is a Surgical Oncologist at the University of Queensland, and an active member of the AGITG Upper GI Working Party. Alongside Prof David Goldstein, he was Chair of the pancreatic cancer trial GAP, which provided new insight on the potential impact of pre-operative chemotherapy. In 2015, he was awarded the Innovation Grant for a genomics substudy of the DOCTOR trial for oesophageal cancer.

Prof Andrew Stevenson

Prof Andrew Stevenson is a Professor of Colorectal Surgery at the University of Queensland, with interest in minimally invasive techniques and the utility of robotics in colorectal surgery. He led the large-scale, international ALaCaRT trial, which was recognised by ASCO as one of 2017’s major breakthroughs in cancer clinical research worldwide. He is currently leading the RoLaCaRT-1 trial, which aims to determine whether robotic technology will allow greater operative advantages and thus better patient-oriented clinical outcomes.

Portrait of Associate Professor Christine Hemmings.

A/Prof Christine Hemmings

A/Prof Christine Hemmings is a Surgical Pathologist, serving as a distinguished histopathologist on the AGITG SAC, and is Chair of the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia. She has been a passionate member of the AGITG and prolific researcher in the topic of gastro-intestinal stromal tumours (GIST). In 2019, she presented a poster at the AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting on SPARC expression in pretreatment rectal cancer biopsies being associated with tumour regression following neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy.

David and Jenny Goldstein

Prof David Goldstein

Prof David Goldstein is the Director of the UNSW Translational Cancer Research Network and a leader in the field of pancreatic cancer research. A former member of the AGITG Board, he was recognised at the 2017 NSW Premier Cancer Research Awards for his lasting achievements in cancer research. In 2020, he won the AGITG Innovation Grant for his translational research substudy, MASTERPLAN Microbiome, which aims to validate the complex link between gut bacterial composition and cancer outcomes. He was also involved in the INTEGRATE IIa trial.

Prof John Simes

Prof John Simes is a leading researcher in cancer clinical trials internationally. A founding member of the AGITG, he was awarded the 2018 John Zalcberg OAM Award for Excellence in AGITG Research for his dedication in groundbreaking GI cancer research. He has been a key member of the SAC since 1991 and an active part of many of our trials, including the practice-changing CO.17 trial for colorectal cancer. Most recently, he was involved in the AGITG trial INTEGRATE IIa, which was presented at ASCO GI 2023 to acclaim.

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Prof John Zalcberg

Prof John Zalcberg is a preeminent researcher in GI cancer research in Australia and overseas. As a founding member of the AGITG, he served as Chair of the Board for many years, and he remains actively involved in our latest research, including the SSGXXII trial for GIST. In 2014, the AGITG launched a prestigious award in honour of his tireless work, the John Zalcberg OAM Award for Excellence in AGITG Research, which recognises clinicians and researchers for their commitment to GI cancer research. He was also involved in the INTEGRATE IIa trial.

Katie Benton

Katie Benton is a dietitian specialising in GI cancer nutrition and an active member of the AGITG Upper GI Working Party. She has presented at Annual Scientific Meetings with fellow dietitian Belinda Steer on areas of research in upper GI cancer, and how to include nutrition in AGITG trials. Alongside Belinda Steer, she Chairs the MASTERPLAN substudy RANDoMS for pancreatic cancer, which aims to identify how a standard instrument used by dietitians to assess for malnutrition performs against a gold standard.

Prof Tim Price

Prof Tim Price is the Director of Medical Oncology at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SA, and is Chair of the national NHMRC Cancer Council Colorectal Guidelines committee. A fierce advocate for improved GI cancer outcomes and the importance of clinical trials, he has led several of the GI Cancer Institute’s Gutsy treks – raising more than $112,000 altogether for the Innovation Grant for pilot-stage clinical research in GI cancers. He was also involved in the acclaimed INTEGRATE IIa trial.

Prof Val Gebski

Prof Val Gebski is a Professor of Biostatistics at the NHMRC CTC. He has been a member of the AGITG since the organisation’s founding in 1991 and served the AGITG SAC as an eminent biostatistician. In 2019, he was presented with the the John Zalcberg OAM Award for Excellence in AGITG Research for his profound contributions to GI cancer research and trial designs.