It was my pleasure and honor to act as the convenor for this year’s 2016 ANZUP ASM held at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane.
The meeting with the theme “GU Oncology – Expanding our Horizons” achieved its aim, with cutting edge clinically relevant scientific presentations from national and international faculty, updates on ANZUP led trials and concepts, the best of supportive care and nursing and updates on the future of Urologic Oncology. We were privileged to welcome to Australia for the first time our international guest speakers Dean Bajorin and Piet Ost and welcome home ex-patriot John Oliffe. Unfortunately our final international guest, Freddie Hamdy was unable to attend due to a family emergency.
Sunday started for the first time with the extraordinarily popular Nurse’s Breakfast sponsored by PCFA and Astellas. It was standing room only to hear from leading academic Nurses from around Australia and New Zealand. A highlight was our international guest John Oliffe who gave an inspirational message of how our dedicated and talented Nurses can be involved in clinical trials and research.
The MDT Masterclass was again voted as a highlight of the meeting by many and was “masterfully” co-ordinated by Shomik Sengupta and Carmel Pezaro. A big thank you to all the various panel chairs and experts for making the Masterclass such a success.
The ANZUP Community Engagement Forum “A little below the belt” was enthusiastically supported by a large number of patients, survivors, family, friends and general members of the community at large. This forum is an important conduit for information to the public and consumers regarding ANZUP and ANZUP led trials, why clinical trials are important and how we as Medical, Nursing and Allied Health professionals are trying to improve outcomes for our patients.
Ian Davis reinforced the important new partnership between ANZUP and the PCFA. The relevance of this was further evident through the announcement of a new PCFA funded ANZUP badged trial investigating the potential role of Lu177-PSMA in metastatic prostate cancer. This trial will provide the very latest in potential therapies to our patients.
The Sunday Night Evening Symposium was held in the regal surrounds of the Brisbane Tattersalls Club and was proudly sponsored by Astellas and Amgen. Outstanding presentations from Dean Bajorin and John Oliffe spoke to translating research into practice and getting the message out to the community respectively.
Monday kicked off a packed program with Piet Ost and Dean Bajorin providing world class presentations on the cutting edge topics of the potential role of Radiation as a vaccine in kidney and urothelial carcinoma and the rapidly evolving world of genomics in bladder cancer. Spirited discussion was enjoyed during the ANZUP Concept Development Workshop, which was followed up with updates from the Community Advisory Panel and subcommittee chairs.
The Best of the Best Oral presentations demonstrated the quality and breadth of research being undertaken by ANZUP members, as too did the record number of poster presentations. A busy Monday was very enjoyably rounded out with the conference dinner in the Hilton Ballroom, which included some of our local and international faculty demonstrating that their skills in the clinic are equally matched on the dance floor.
Tuesday started early with breakfast and the opportunity to “meet the Professor” Dr Dean Bajorin. Dean gave an inspiring message of mentorship, why he is an academic oncologist and how and why he has led the fellowship program at MSKCC. It was inspiring for trainees and challenging for those of us given the honor and privilege of training the next generation of leaders.
The rest of Tuesday included state of the art presentations on less common tumours such as penile and testis cancer and Dr Bajorin presented the latest data on immune therapy in bladder cancer. A session was devoted to the important topics of the younger GU oncology patient and rehabilitation. We were extremely fortunate to have Freddie Hamdy involved in the meeting and “present” through the wonders of technology, a fantastic talk on surgical research and clinical trials. Outstanding presentations from local faculty on the latest in translational research in GU oncology and how we can include such approaches in clinical trial design gave food for thought.
Piet Ost gave a fascinating talk on the role of ablation of oligometastatic prostate cancer and then backed up to be involved in possibly one of the greatest debates ever seen anywhere, anytime – “Cytoreductive RRP (or EBRT to the prostate) is a good idea in men present with synchronous mets”. Our local dream team of Peter Heathcote and Joe Bucci put a well constructed and spirited argument together for the negative however were pipped at the post by the affirmative team of Piet “Iolaus” Ost and Venu “Hercules” Chalasani. I am sure no-one present will ever look at a Mentos in quite the same way.
The meeting closed with awards for the best presentations in various categories and the 2016 Tolmar ANZUP Clinical Research Fellowship was awarded to Dr Arun Azad, medical oncologist and translational researcher from Monash Health in Melbourne.
My job as convenor was very easy due to the fantastic support and work of the extra-ordinary convening committee (with special thanks to the local team of David Pryor, Tanya Holt, Shona Mackenzie and Aneta Suder), the ANZUP secretariat and YRD team. This dedicated group ensured this year’s ASM was the most successful and largest to date and demonstrates how ANZUP if going from strength to strength.
No matter how much hard work is put in from the organising committee, the meeting itself would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Platinum sponsors Janssen and PCFA; Gold Sponsors Sanofi, Amgen, Astellas, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Immuno-Oncology and Novartis Oncology; Silver sponsors Ipsen, Ferring, Tolmar Australia and Bayer; and Bronze sponsor Pfizer Oncology.
Planning is already well underway for next year and we look forward to welcoming you to Melbourne, for an even bigger and more successful ANZUP ASM.
By Ian Vela, ANZUP ASM 2016 Convenor