Tag Archives: vccc

World Cancer Day special Monday Lunch Live – 4 Feb 2019

Patient-driven clinical trial offers new hope for rare cancer diagnosis

Marking World Cancer Day on 4 February, this special Monday Lunch Live event highlights new research into rare cancers – which collectively cause more cancer deaths in Australia than any single cancer type.

An innovative patient-driven clinical trial is exploring genomic profiling of rare cancers. The NOMINATOR trial is the result of a unique collaboration between a clinician-scientist and patient advocate. The trial investigates whether profiling can improve diagnosis and treatment of people with rare cancers.

Reflecting the I Am and I Will theme of World Cancer Day, Professor Clare Scott – clinician-scientist from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and medical oncologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; the Royal Women’s Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital – will be joined by Kate Vines, Founder and Head of Patient Care at Rare Cancers Australia. They will share their story of collaboration and commitment in developing the promising NOMINATOR trial.

Professor Clare Scott

Professor Clare Scott holds the Chair in Gynaecological Cancer at the University of Melbourne and is the Joint-Head of Clinical Translation and Laboratory Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Medical Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals.

She has 20 years’ experience in clinical cancer genetics, including working in Familial Cancer Clinics. Her clinical expertise is in gynaecological cancers and coordinating care for patients with rare cancers. Her laboratory focuses on drug resistance in ovarian cancer and other rare cancer subtypes, generating patient-specific models to understand and avert resistance to targeted therapeutics, in particular, PARP inhibitors.

Professor Scott chairs the COSA Rare Cancer group and has been awarded clinical fellowships from the Victorian Cancer Agency (2011, 2017), the Sir Edward Dunlop Cancer Research Fellow from the Cancer Council Victoria (2012) and the Jeannie Ferris Recognition Award in Gynaecological Cancer from Cancer Australia (2018).

Kate Vines

Kate Vines is the Founder and Head of Patient Care for Rare Cancers. In 2012 Kate and her husband Richard established Rare Cancers Australia, a patient advocacy group whose mission is to improve the lives and outcomes for rare cancer patients.

The event will also feature a patient experience perspective of the NOMINATOR trial.

Monday 4 February 2019

VCCC Building, Level 7 Lecture Theatres

Light lunch served from 12.30pm

Presentation from 1-2pm

Book now

Can’t join us in person? Join us online via our Webinar

The article is courtesy of our proud precinct partner, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Access to cancer clinical trials for all Victorians

Associate Professor Kate Burbury stands next to Dr Craig Underhill. They are both smiling at the camera in the VCCC.

Patients with cancer living in regional and rural Victoria will soon have access to clinical trials, on their doorstep.

The first patients participating in a cancer clinical trial implemented through a new Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Teletrials Program has begun in Albury Wodonga and Bendigo. The program provides opportunities for regional patients to participate in clinical trials without the need to travel to metropolitan centres.

Dr Craig Underhill, VCCC Regional Oncology Lead (providing representation for the regional cancer community) and the Director of Oncology at the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre is a champion of the program, “Regional cancer patients experience several disadvantages including lower survival rates, due to healthcare access differentials. The VCCC Teletrials Program aims to reduce the barriers for regional patients with cancer to access clinical trials, including travel, cost and social disruption.”

Capitalising on digital health technology

Peter Mac Haematologist, Associate Professor Kate Burbury is working with Dr Underhill and the VCCC to deliver Victoria’s first clinical teletrial. “Clinical trials are a gateway to accessing new cancer treatments,” she said. “We are very excited to be a part of this groundbreaking approach to undertake clinical trials and ensure regional Victorians gain all the opportunities available to their metro counterparts. In addition, this approach can help the health service challenge of meeting recruitment targets and the success of clinical trials, which bring new therapies to the wider community.”

Digital health is a rapidly evolving tool for regional patients’ access to health services. Combining this technology with the principles of the Australasian Tele-trials Model, developed by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA), the VCCC Teletrials Program will implement clinical trials within a framework specifically designed for the Victorian healthcare system to benefit the community.

Associate Professor Kate Burbury and Dr Craig Underhill
Associate Professor Kate Burbury and Dr Craig Underhill

Teletrials to deliver benefits to regional communities

Dr Underhill said, “The VCCC Teletrials Program provides benefits for both our patients and health workforce. Decreased travel and cost will have a big impact on patients. Professional development structures and clinical trial participation will increase our workforce capability.”

Victoria’s first cancer clinical teletrial will be closely monitored to understand challenges and identify opportunities. The VCCC will continue to expand the teletrial program across Victoria to improve clinical trial access and participation for patients living in regional and rural locations.

The VCCC Teletrials Program has been developed in conjunction with the Regional Trials Network; led by VCCC Regional Oncology Leads.  

The VCCC Teletrials Program is supported by the Victorian Government.

This article is sourced from our proud precinct partner, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Study Master of Cancer Science in 2019

Logo for Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Explore an unprecedented breadth of integrated, advanced cancer knowledge

In 2019 the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre with the University of Melbourne is offering a Master of Cancer Sciences program for the first time.

The two-year, part-time course will be Australia’s first cancer-specific, wholly online program, delivered by world-class experts from the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) and Australia’s leading university. It will equip students with cutting-edge, specialist knowledge from the forefront of the rapidly evolving fields of clinical care and cancer research.

Whether you aspire to provide top quality clinical care or high impact cancer research, our Master of Cancer Sciences program will enable you to connect the latest evidence-based knowledge to practical skills, positioning you to make a strong contribution to a world-class cancer workforce.


The VCCC is offering 20 supported places to study in 2019


Twenty supported places are being offered in 2019, providing 50% fee reduction for the first year. Apply by 30 November.

Core subjects for Masters:

Foundations of Cancer
Cancer Research
Research Thesis Capstone – Part 1 (Core for Masters)
Research Thesis Capstone – Part 2 (Core for Masters)
Cancer in Society
Cancer Therapeutics
Cancer Diagnostics
Supportive Care and Palliative Care
Cancer Prevention and Control
Drug Discovery and Development
Cancer Across the Lifespan
End of Life Issues
Foundations of Leadership
Quantitative Methods for Evaluation
Psychosocial Oncology
Health Behaviour Change
Leadership in Practice

Online course options
Term 1 February 2019
Term 2 April 2019
Term 3 July 2019
Term 4 October 2019

Applications close: 14 January 2019

For further information and to register your interest: online.unimelb.edu.au/cancer-sciences

You can also contact The University of Melbourne student support team at study-online@unimelb.edu.au or +61 3 8344 0149 (Mon–Fri 8.00am–9.00pm, Sat–Sun 10.00am–5.00pm, public holidays 10.00am–5.00pm).

This article is sourced from our proud Precinct Partner, VCCC 


Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancers: Role of Dental and Medical Practitioners – 15 March 2019

Photograph of a dentist's gloved hands working in a patient's mouth performing and oral exam

Early diagnosis, care and management of oral cancer: Dental and medical practitioners have a major role to play in the diagnosis, care and management of patients with head and neck cancer.

Learn about the care and management of oral and oropharyngeal cancers at a one-day professional development forum hosted by the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance.

The course will be conducted in the new VCCC building in Parkville. Some of you will fondly remember the building as 711 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

Delegates will gain an introduction to oral oncology focusing on the early diagnosis of oral and oropharyngeal cancer , treatment pathways, consequences and complications of the disease. Ensure you are up-to-date with the latest research and therapies in oral oncology and advance your knowledge and skills in this specialist area.

Who should attend?

Dentists, dental therapists, dental specialists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists.General and specialist medical practitioners, and allied health practitioners with an interest in head and neck cancer

Learning objectives
  • Understand the aetiology, recognition, early diagnosis and referral of oral and oropharyngeal cancers
  • Identify the major fundamentals of treatment for head and neck cancer
  • Understand the principles of treatment planning, pre and post-cancer treatment
  • Identify complications and their management, including both the of short and long-term effects of treatment

Expert speakers from the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre’s ten partner alliance will facilitate the day with both a morning and afternoon program. A question-and-answer opportunity will be hosted by a panel of clinicians at the forefront of head and neck cancer research and clinical care. Patients will be present to discuss their own care and its impact on their lives.

The full day program will provide CPD hours.



Half-day program cost is $ 200.00 (8.30am – 1.00pm)
Full-day program cost is $ 350.00 (8.30am – 5.00pm)
Read draft program

Event details
Date: Thursday 15 March 2019
Time: 8.30am – 5.00pm
Location: Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Level 7 Lecture Theatre B,
Address: 305 Grattan Street, Parkville

Morning and afternoon teas and a light lunch will be provided.

Register today to attend

Special evening lecture: Professor Wim H. van Harten – 29 November

Wide angle shot of the VCCC, a christmas tree is on the ground floor.

Value Transformation in Dutch Hospitals: Portfolios, Pathways and New Models of Care

Visiting Professor Wim H. van Harten will present a special evening lecture during his visit to Australia.  Wim H. van Harten is the CEO of Rijnstate (general) Hospital in Arnhem, a large teaching hospital with an annual expenditure of € 460 million and around 4500 employees, of whom around 275 are medical specialists and 130 MDs in specialist training.

The presentation will provide insights on the concentration of health services from a European perspective, along with networks in oncology and the development of hospitals taking responsibility for delivery of specialised care at home.

Professor Wim H. van Harten MD, PhD, MPH

Wim H. van Harten spent 5 years in Cameroon after his graduation as M.D. and specialisation in tropical medicine. On returning from Africa he focused on public health and health administration. He obtained a degree in community medicine/public health while working as Chief Medical Advisor of a major health insurance company (1986-1992). He completed his PhD on quality management in health care (1997) and started a research group in close cooperation with the University of Twente.

In June 2001, he became Member of the Executive Board of the Netherlands Cancer Institute – Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (NKI-AVL), a prominent European Comprehensive Cancer Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, being in charge of Organisation & Management. The NKI is the only designated Comprehensive Cancer center in the Netherlands with an annual expenditure of over € 300 million. From 2005 he was acting as Research Group leader at the Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology at the NKI.

Since 2001 he is part-time professor on Quality Management and Health Care Technology at the department of Health Technology and Services Research of the School of Management and Governance at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. After serving on the board of the Organization of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) for a number of years, he served as President of the OECI from 2011-2014. He is a member of the Accreditation and Designation Group of the OECI. He is one of the founders of this system and chaired reviews of major centers like Cambridge, Manchester/Christies, Helsinki University and Oslo University. He chairs the OECI working group on health economics.

From 2008 – 2014 he was chosen to serve as Board member of the Netherlands Hospital Association with the portfolio of innovation, drug costs and quality issues.

In December 2015 he started as CEO of Rijnstate (general) Hospital in Arnhem. In the annual insurers survey on 2015, Rijnstate ranked fourth in annual patient volume in the Netherlands. Presently a large 10-year renovation investment plan is underway involving total restructuring real estate and facilities, innovating clinical in-patient services, upgrading R&D structure and heavy IT, EMR and data mining investments. Rijnstate serves as a business school ‘care study’ of IESE/Barcelona in its 2018 curriculum in The Hospital of the Future.

Details for the Evening Lecture:

Date: Thursday 29 November 2018
Venue:  VCCC Building, Level 7 Lecture Theatres
Time: Presentation: 5-6pm

Followed by networking refreshments in the foyer
Register here

Monday Lunch Live featuring A/Prof Allison Werner-Lin (US) – 10 December

Photograph of a Monday Lunch Live auditorium clapping and smiling

A/Prof Allison Werner-Lin is from the School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania. She is also senior advisor, US National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and we are delighted to welcome her to the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Studying the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomic technologies is vitally important to identifying pathways towards greater engagement in personalised medicine, thereby extending the potential of genomic discovery. Yet, too often, psychosocial genomics research only includes individual perspectives and adaptations. When families are included, the focus is on the uptake of genetic testing by first-degree relatives and limited attention, if any, is given to other family members related by blood, law, or choice. Dr Werner-Lin’s research considers the ways families engage with genomic medicine and identifies how engagement is driven by ongoing family dynamics, social contexts, complex disease histories, and grief. Her work suggests practice models informed by family systems and developmental perspectives can support patient engagement in genomic medicine to reduce psychosocial harms.

Allison Werner-Lin’s research addresses the intersection of genomic discovery and family life. Her work seeks to broaden social work’s guiding ‘person-in-environment’ framework to include genetic variation as a core feature of assessment, one in constant interaction with developmental, sociocultural, and environmental contexts. Presently, her work addresses the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of emerging genomic technologies in reproductive, pediatric, adolescent, and young adult populations with inherited cancer predisposition syndromes.

She is among the first to explore the psychosocial challenges unique to women and men of reproductive age who carry a genetic mutation (BRCA1/2), which exposes carriers to elevated risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. She holds appointments with the Clinical Genetics Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute where she oversees psychosocial research addressing hereditary tumor predisposition syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. She is a member of the Scientific Committee governing the International Meeting on Psychosocial Aspects of Hereditary Cancer, serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, where she serves as facilitator of the Cancer Special Interest Group, and the National Academies of Practice in Social Work.



Date: Monday 10 December 2018
Time: Presentation: 1-2pm
Venue: VCCC Building, Level 7 Lecture Theatres
Catering: Light lunch served from 12.30pm


Photograph of a Monday Lunch Live auditorium clapping and smiling



Turning nursing ideas into research workshop – 23 November

Are you a nurse who cares for patients affected by cancer?
Do you have a great clinical question that you would like to be able to turn into a research project to benefit your patients?

Turning Nursing Ideas into Research is a new, one-day workshop developed by the University of Melbourne’s Department of Nursing and School of Population and Global Health and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre to build confidence and skills in cancer nurses who want to carry out a clinical research project.
Workshop Content

You will spend the day with a small group of peers talking about ideas/questions and potential opportunities for research. How to refine topics or problems will be explored.  You’ll learn how to pitch an idea and get others onboard, identify key stakeholders, and plan a research project.

The workshop will be facilitated by Prof Mei Krishnasamy, VCCC Research and Education Lead for Nursing and Dr Helen Jordan, Evaluation and Implementation Science Unit, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.
Who should attend?
Nurses who work with cancer patients and who may be interested in carrying out a clinical research project.  Participants will benefit by bringing ideas to the forum which can be shared and workshopped with others.
Apply now
This is a new opportunity offered exclusively to nurses within the seven clinical partners of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.  Places are limited but all are encouraged to apply.

Friday 23 November 2018
Registration: 8.30am – 9.00am
Workshop: 9.00am – 4.30pm

Morning tea and lunch will be provided
Level 13 Meeting Room, VCCC, 305 Grattan Street, Parkville
*Please note this session is open to VCCC partner organisation staff only.  The workshop will be recorded for teaching and learning purposes.

Book your place now

Read more about the upcoming events at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre here.

Genomic sequencing offers new hope for rare cancers – Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

A cord-like shape across the screen entwined red and pink bubbles
A cancer’s genetic sequence may be the key to matching people with rare cancers to the right anti-cancer treatments, according to a new clinical trial instigated by patients.

The national trial indicated that genomic profiling of rare cancers – which collectively account for more than 20 per cent of cancer diagnoses in Australia – has the potential to improve a patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

The trial, which will be presented today at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting, was the first of its kind in Australia to be instigated by people affected by rare cancers.

The pilot study was conducted at four centres across Australia, and was led by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Professor Clare Scott, who is a medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Women’s Hospital.

At a glance
  • Better treatments are needed for people with rare cancers, which collectively cause more cancer deaths in Australia than any single cancer type
  • A new, patient-driven clinical trial has investigated whether genomic profiling of rare cancers can improve the diagnosis and treatment of people with rare cancers
  • Genomic profiling provided meaningful information that influences diagnosis and treatment in more than half the trial participants, offering hope for better outcomes for patients
Finding better treatments

A cancer type is considered rare if it affects fewer than 6 people per year per 100,000 people. Despite being individually uncommon, rare cancers collectively account for more than 20 per cent of cancer diagnoses in Australia.

Better approaches to diagnosing and treating rare cancers are urgently needed, said Professor Scott. “More people die from rare cancers in Australia than any other single cancer type. This is because treatments for many rare cancers have not advanced at the same pace as treatments for more common cancers,” she said.

The trial sequenced a panel of genomic markers in participants’ cancers to identify molecular features or mutations in the cancer that could be targeted with existing treatments used in other cancer types with the same characteristics.

“While genomic testing is becoming increasingly used in other cancer types, this is one of the first national studies of its kind in Australia to look at the potential benefits for those with rare cancers,” Professor Scott said.

Promising results

The NOMINATOR Pilot Study results released today included 36 patients. The two-year study will eventually include 100 patients and will lay the groundwork for other national initiatives looking into genomic profiling across a range of cancer types.

“Australians in this trial came to us after they had exhausted all their options. Using genomic profiling we were able to uncover new information that gave many patients new treatment options – and ultimately, new hope,” said Professor Scott.

“Genomic profiling provided meaningful information that influenced diagnosis and treatment in around half of the participants. 20 percent of those tested got a new treatment plan as a result and 6 percent of participants were given a new diagnosis.”

Professor Phyllis Butow, President, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia said one of the impressive things about the study was that it was driven by Australians directly affected by rare cancers.

“Around 52,000 Australians are diagnosed with rare or less common cancers each year. Those directly affected by the disease helped call for and fund this research, so it’s great to see these initial promising results being presented to cancer experts from across the country.”

Professor Clare Scott is leading the NOMINATOR trial that uses genomics to match people with rare cancers to better treatments.

The trial was funded by Rare Cancers Australia, the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, the Australian Genomics Health Alliance, Melanie and Neil Rae and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation.

Professor Scott’s research is supported by the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation, the Victorian Cancer Agency and the Victorian Cancer Council.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Women’s Hospital are part of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance.

Participating centres

The trial is currently accruing patients through the following hospitals:

  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australia
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Victoria
  • St John of God Hospital Subiaco, Western Australia


This article was sourced from https://www.wehi.edu.au/