Welcome Drs Tara Cochrane and Nada Hamad to the ALLG Scientific Advisory Committee

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The ALLG Team warmly welcomes Drs Tara Cochrane and Nada Hamad to the ALLG Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

This has been a big year for the ALLG Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Throughout 2019, the 10-person committee has been responsible for the oversight of 66 ALLG clinical trials in various stages of opening, recruitment, treatment, follow-up and analysis, and the group has guided the ALLG Members to achieve significant milestones (see the Annual Review 2019 for more details of the highlights from early in the year).

In May 2019, the SAC welcomed Dr Tara Cochrane, who was co-opted as the new co-Chair of the Lymphoma Working Party. At the November ALLG Scientific Meeting in Adelaide, Dr Nada Hamad was announced as the newest member of the SAC, taking the role of the Chair of the Transplantation & Cell Therapies Working Party.

Retiring from their SAC duties in 2019 were Prof Judith Trotman (May) and David Ritchie (November). We thank Professors Trotman and Ritchie for their dedicated service as part of the SAC over the last several years. Stay tuned for future stories about their significant contributions to the ALLG clinical management.

The ALLG Team warmly welcomes Drs Cochrane and Hamad to the ALLG SAC. We look forward to working with you in your new roles and accelerating blood cancer clinical trials well into the next decade.

Here’s a bit more about the two newest members of the SAC.

Meet Dr Tara Cochrane

Originally hailing from Adelaide, Dr Tara Cochrane has been an ALLG member for over six years and is a haematologist from Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH), Queensland.

Prior to taking the staff specialist role at GCUH in 2009, Dr Cochrane completed her advanced haematology training at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne. She then headed to Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, for a two-year fellowship in lymphoma and autologous stem cell transplant.

She is a passionate advocate for clinical trials and research, having helped establish the Stem Cell Transplant Unit and the Clinical Trials Unit in haematology at the GCUH. At the ALLG, in addition to her duties as part of the SAC, she co-chairs the Lymphoma Working Party, which leads the research portfolio across all types of lymphoma.

About her dedication to clinical research, Dr Cochrane said, “I have an interest in clinical trials primarily because they represent the future of medicine and therapy. Haematology has come a long way, particularly over the last two decades where therapeutic gains are being made in many areas in leaps and bounds. It’s great to see new therapies that are effective and well tolerated and we are moving away from the ‘more toxic, more effective’ mentality. Clinical trials improve patient access to innovate therapies, and the vast majority of my patients have found being involved in a trial a very rewarding experience.”

She continued, “The ALLG gave the then Gold Coast Hospital the opportunity to open some clinical trials in Haematology approximately 10 years ago. This allowed us to develop a track record in trials, which then enabled subsequent pharmaceutical-sponsored studies to consider the Gold Coast as a potential site. The ALLG is a very open and inclusive organisation and is vitally important to the clinical trial culture as studies are driven and led by clinicians.”

Meet Dr Nada Hamad

Congratulations to Dr Nada Hamad on her recent appointments as President of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Society of ANZ (BMTSANZ).

Dr Hamad is a Staff Specialist in Bone Marrow Transplantation, Clinical and Laboratory Haematologist and Director of Haematology Clinical Trials Unit at St Vincent’s Health Network, Kinghorn Cancer Centre.

An ALLG Member since 2010, Dr Hamad holds joint fellowships from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and The Royal College of Pathologists Australasia. She has built a stellar career in Australia after completing two post-graduate fellowships in Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and Lymphoma from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada, which is ranked among the top five cancer centres in North America. Nada also earned a specialist certificate in Clinical Research (Oncology) from the University of Melbourne, after graduating with honours in Medicine at the University of Sydney in 2004 and previously completing a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Forensics.

Dr Hamad’s expertise includes both benign and malignant haematology, and she has a special interest in malignant haematology including lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia as well as assisting vulnerable patient groups such as young adults, pregnant women and the elderly. She also serves as a Conjoint Senior Clinical Lecturer at UNSW, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Chair of the NSW ACI BMT Network.