Opportunities for collaboration, both virtual and face-to-face, for peer review and networking are important to progress clinical trials in haematological malignancies.
The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG) holds Scientific Meetings (SM) twice a year, in May and October, over a few days for its member clinician researcher haematologists, scientists, registrars/trainees, and trial coordinators, research nurses and data scientists from across Australia and New Zealand.
This May’s Meeting, led by our Scientific Advisory Committee and Member Relations Working Group, was a resounding success with 364 ALLG members, staff and supporters attending. In order to maximise attendance, the four-day Meeting, from 10 May to 13 May, was held as a hybrid event in Melbourne with the option to attend in-person or virtually. It had been two years since the last in-person ALLG event, with virtual meetings the only option.
All member attendees, online and in-person, had the opportunity to generate and share research ideas, concepts, and to hear from fellow members about current trials and their clinical trial publications, presentations, and translational research. The Meetings provide a forum for members to consider new proposals and concepts, participate in small focus meetings, and undertake training and networking.
The ALLG’s Scientific Meeting also includes a two-day program for trial coordinators, data managers and research nurses conducting ALLG trials.
Haematology Education Day provided a unique opportunity for training in haematology, with expertise of leading specialists. On the Tuesday ALLG offered a speciality training day in AML. Prof Andrew Wei chaired the session (pictured). David Ritchie delivered a very educational session of AML and MDS in bone marrow transplantation. David Westerman delivered an interesting presentation of AML and MDS diagnosis and classification from a lab perspective, which clarified the way results are reported and interpreted. A/Prof Anoop Enjeti discussed the ALLG MDS05 trial and Prof Andrew Wei and Dr Ing Soo Tiong presented on MRD monitoring. Prof Wei also presented on current and future plans of ALLG’s National Blood Cancer Registry and ALLG clinical trials.
Wednesday’s Clinical Trials Operations Meeting Day focused on trials operations. Highlights included ALLG Project Manager, Naomi Sprigg interviewing Prof Jeff Szer for ‘One On One with A Top Gun’ (pictured), and recipient of ALLG’s Anne Lenton Memorial Award, Hayley Beer presenting on her project ‘Establishing consumer endorsement of Patient reported outcome measures in multiple myeloma’.
The plenary sessions on 12 and 13 May focused on robust discussion of the full ALLG trial portfolio, including ALLG’s disease-specific scientific working parties – Acute Leukaemia and MDS, Transplant & Cell Therapies, CML & MPN, Myeloma, Lymphoma, CLL, and Supportive Care, and Laboratory Sciences.
Members also heard updates from international leaders. Prof Wee Joo Chng, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, discussed the available clinical and molecular methods of identifying patients with high-risk multiple myeloma. He highlighted that these strategies remain suboptimal and clinicans still fail to identify 50 percent of patients who ultimately have functionally high-risk disease.
Prof Alessandro Vannucchi, University of Florence, discussed ‘Low Risk PV’, for the Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia/Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (CML/MPN) plenary. He presented on treatment and outcomes in patients with low-risk polycythaemia vera with a focus on the utility of pegylated interferon in this population. The Low-PV study is the first randomised trial providing evidence that low-risk patients with polycythaemia vera might benefit from treatment with ropeginterferon alfa-2b.
This study provides a good foundation for further research and a step forward towards evidence-based treatment of low-risk patients with polycythaemia vera.
Prof Peter Hillmen, University of Leeds, presented in the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia ( CLL) plenary. He discussed the recently opened NCRI STATIC study, designed to evaluate the efficacy of intermittent compared to continuous ibrutinib treatment strategies for CLL. He explained that intermittent therapy with clear stopping and restarting criteria will afford treatment interruptions that may reduce treatment side effects and treatment resistance.
The Scientific Meeting’s networking opportunities included a welcome to new members and a dinner. An ‘Early Career Researcher Breakfast Meeting’ engaged with ALLG Associate Member Registrars, Trainees, Fellows and Junior Consultants, and highlighted the ALLG’s Early Career mentorship program.
All sessions are available to members as on-demand video content, including:
- What’s New in Haematology, ALLG Deputy Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee, and Chair of the ALLG Laboratory Sciences Working Party, Prof Jake Shortt led presentations with eight ALLG members.
- Industry Pipeline Update, presented by the Diamond and Gold Sponsors of the ALLG May 2022 Scientific Meeting.
- The eight scientific working party plenary sessions from Thursday and Friday
The ALLG’s latest Research Report publication, for calendar year 2021, was officially launched at the Meeting that includes full trial updates from the various disease-focused Scientific Working Parties.
In addition, the ALLG Scientific Advisory Committee – Chaired by Peter Mollee, and including Deputy Chair A/Prof Jake Shortt, and SAC Committee members Dr Tara Cochrane, Dr Matthew Greenwood, A/Prof Nada Hamad, A/Prof Eliza Hawkes, A/Prof Zoe McQuilten, Prof Stephen Mulligan, A/Prof David Ross, and Prof Andrew Wei, – launched ALLG’s Scientific Research Strategy that guides ALLG’s research program; with the aim to cure patients who have blood cancer and to find more effective and less toxic therapies to improve their lives.
COMING UP AT THE ALLG
Wishing all our ALLG members that are presenting trials at the EHA conference in Vienna all the very best!!
Watch out for End Of Financial year fundraising activities during June.
The ALLG Annual Member Survey will be launched during June, an important time to have your say and provide valuable feedback about your organisation.
The next ALLG Scientific Meeting for members will be 24-27 October 2022 in Brisbane.
Next year, 2023 will mark the ALLG’s 50 th Anniversary celebration. The ALLG is the oldest collaborative cancer group in Australia and has supported more than 11,600 patients in ALLG trials, projects and registries. Internationally the group is very highly respected and has participated in trials initiated from France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada and many other countries.
For information on clinical trials, memberships and events, and to download a copy of ALLG’s latest Research Report publication, visit www.allg.org.au