Blood Cancer Awareness Month
September is ‘blood cancer awareness month’, and we had the opportunity to take part in a number of conferences, workshops and summits to raise awareness of who we are and to promote our work in blood cancer clinical trial research.
ANZSPM 2018 Conference
ANZSPM’s biennial conference was held at the beginning of September in Sydney with a packed programme of workshops, plenary and breakout sessions. World-class speakers joined local experts to explore concepts around the theme of New Frontiers and to deliver a meeting that was inspiring and encouraged new practice in palliative care.
Dr Robert Weinkove, the ALLG Supportive Care Group Chair, presented on behalf of the ALLG by discussing how new ideas progress through to clinical trials. He also discussed the supportive care elements for the National Blood Cancer Registry, and how the Supportive Care Group seeks to ameliorate the symptoms and complications of blood cancers and minimise the toxicities of treatment.
Earlier in September, the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance held their annual one-day forum in Melbourne titled Optimising the Value of Clinical Trials: Impact and Implementation. The forum was tailored to trialists involved in protocol design and optimising evidence uptake in Australia’s healthcare system and included a keynote presentation from leading international implementation scientist, Professor Jeremy Grimshaw, whose research focuses on the evaluation of interventions to disseminate and implement evidence-based practice. There was also be presentations on trials and implementation from the crucial perspective of policy-makers and research funders.
Professor Judith Trotman presented a 15min discussion outlining blood cancer and the role of the ALLG in running high-impact clinical trials. Her discussion centred on new, emerging ideas and the level of collaboration required to run good quality clinical trials. Judith also discussed the international lymphoma collaboration for the PRIMA NHL16 study PET analysis led in establishing PET as the gold-standard response assessment modality in Follicular Lymphoma, the acute myeloid leukaemia study AMLM12, the acute promyelocytic leukaemia APML4 trial and CML6 TIDEL I for chronic myeloid leukaemia. She finished her discussion by pointing out how the rapid pace of developments in haematology combined with slow recruitment can limit the clinical applicability of some ALLG trials and the challenges for trial funding and recruitment on the outcomes for clinical trials in Australia.
National Blood Cancer Conference
The Leukaemia Foundations’ National Blood Cancer Conference was held in September 2018, and brought the public and specialists together to discuss blood cancer research, treatment, and share their knowledge and expertise in a national conference designed for people living with blood cancer. With over 300 attendees, the 2018 conference saw a change in format to previous years, consolidating previous state-based events into one national conference held in Melbourne to ensure the highest calibre of speaker and most important research is available to the public.
Delaine Smith, Professor Andrew Roberts and Dr Gareth Gregory represented the ALLG and were invited to speak and lead a panel discussion on current clinical trials and the way to access information. During their Clinical Trials Symposium, Delaine explained what clinical trials were, how they progressed from an idea to a scientific study, and the rigorous ethical standards needed to run clinical trials in Australia.
What are clinical trials and how do they work?
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Mid-September, Myeloma Australia hosted their second workshop for clinicians and researchers on the pathophysiology, treatment and new ideas in multiple myeloma. Some of the key guest speakers included Professor Leif Bergsagel – Mayo Clinic, Professor Kwee Yong – University College London and Associate Professor Saar Gill – University of Pennsylvania.
Along with the Myeloma Registry and AMARC, the ALLG set up a display table outlining our most recent Myeloma clinical trials. A/Professor Hang Quach, the ALLG Myeloma Group Chair, presented on behalf of the ALLG. In her presentation, she discussed the current Myeloma clinical trials MM18/AMN02, MM19, MM20 and MM21. Hang ended her discussion by explaining the purposed for the Myeloma Disease Group and the professional benefits of becoming a member of the ALLG.