Perth in Western Australia was the setting for the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group’s (ANZBCTG) 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM).
Now in its’ 37th year, the conference attracted 200 delegates to hear the latest developments in breast cancer research worldwide, to share clinical trial outcomes and to discuss plans for future trials.
Each year, the ASM attracts leading Australian and New Zealand medical practitioners, including medical oncologists, surgeons, research nurses, study coordinators, radiation oncologists and other trials management personnel. In 2015, participants from BreastSurg ANZ’s post fellowship training day and the 2016 fellowship interviews also joined the conference.
The first program session, the Trials Coordination Forum, is designed for study coordinators and those who are actively involved in coordinating ANZBCTG clinical trials. Dr Nick Zeps, from St John of God Subiaco Hospital, reported on achievements made to streamline clinical trials research and governance processes, as well as new initiatives to attract more clinical trials to Australia and New Zealand. Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips, from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, presented details of a new trial called OlympiA and ANZBCTG Clinical Fellow Dr Nicholas Zdenkowski outlined the DOMINO study. ANZBCTG Team Leader Mr Heath Badger gave an update on the ELIMINATE clinical trial and the launch of the ANZBCTG’s e-CRF system.
A Trials Update, News and Concept session involved the discussion of new research concepts proposed by ANZBCTG Members. The presentation of new concepts is an opportunity to gain multidisciplinary and consumer input in a supportive environment. Protocols under consideration and pending activation were presented, as well as an update on the status of new trials opened for patient entry this year. Some of these trials represent important, new intergroup collaborations for the ANZBCTG.
The ASM took a new format this year, with Scientific Sessions finishing on Friday rather than Saturday, which was well received by all participants. Five international guest speakers presented at the conference: Professor Jack Cuzick from the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine in London, Professor Karen Gelmon from the University of British Columbia, Associate Professor Amit Goyal from the Royal Derby Hospital in the UK, Professor Linda Vahdat from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and Professor John Yarnold from the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Topics during the Scientific Sessions covered prevention and prediction, local therapies, systemic therapies, translational research and advanced disease.
Associate Professor Boon Chua, a member of the ANZBCTG’s Scientific Advisory Committee, presented the results of the TROG MA.20 clinical trial, which provided new evidence of lymph node radiation benefit in long-term breast cancer control. These results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on the day of the presentation and the trial was coordinated by the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group. The trial was led by radiation oncologists in Australia, Canada and the United States and showed that radiation treatment of the lymph nodes in addition to the breast after breast cancer surgery can prolong the time women remain cancer free.
Each year, the ANZBCTG honours and recognises members and researchers for their outstanding contribution to the Group’s research program, for excellence in breast cancer research and for their contribution to improvements in patient outcomes. Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips received The 2015 Alan Coates Award for Excellence in Clinical Trials Research, (pictured) in recognition of her contribution to the ANZBCTG clinical trials research program. Professor Jack Cuzick received The 2015 Robert Sutherland Award for Excellence in Translational Research. The ANZBCTG has a long collaborative association with Professor Cuzick, particularly through the IBIS-I and IBIS-II clinical trials. Dr Jocelyn Lippey from the Royal Perth Hospital was presented with The 2015 John Collins Fellow Medal and Travel Grant, which was established to encourage potential academic breast cancer surgeons and registrars to become involved in clinical trials research.
In 2016, the ANZBCTG will hold a Joint Annual Scientific Meeting with the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia from 14-17 November 2016 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
[hr] Anna Fitzgerald is Communications Manager at the ANZBCTG. To learn more about the organisation, please visit the website: ANZBCTG.
Image: Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips is presented with The ANZBCTG’s 2015 Alan Coates Award for Excellence in Clinical Trials Research by Professor Fran Boyle AM and Professor Michael Green. Credit: ANZBCTG