Cancer care

COSA 2018 goes west with focus on GI cancer and mesothelioma


On the eve of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia’s (COSA) annual scientific meeting in Perth (13-15 Nov), the limbic catches up with conference convenor Dr Tim Clay to hear about some of the highlights of this year’s program.

This year’s COSA 2018 meeting will tackle the dual themes of mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancers. The plenary on Upper GI Cancers (Tuesday 9 am) will cover the “state-of-the-art” in chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and nutrition, says convenor Dr Clay a medical oncologist at St John of God Subiaco Hospital in Perth.

The session will hear from international guest speakers including oncologist Professor Dirk Arnold, of the University of Hamburg, Dr Theodore Hong, radiation oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and nutritionist Dr Marian de van der Schueren (PhD), from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

In the plenary on Controversies in Mesothelioma (Tuesday 1.30 pm), Australian pathologists Sonja Klebe and Amanda Segal will go head-to-head over what’s needed to secure a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

“They will debate whether patients should have a biopsy or whether cytology is sufficient to make a diagnosis,” explains Dr Clay.

The session will also include mesothelioma experts from the UK including  Professor Dean Fennell, who will present on the role of surgery in pleural mesothelioma.

“He will be talking through some of the indications for surgery and the clinical trials that either support or don’t support it.”

A third plenary session will focus on exercise in cancer care, an area in which COSA is taking the lead as the first national society to release guidelines on the subject.

Australian research at COSA 2018 will include the first data from the NOMINATOR trial, (Genomic Matching Treatment for Rare Cancers) presented by Professor Clare Scott, Head of the Ovarian and Rare Cancers Laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Wednesday 9am). The study aims to evaluate the feasibility of performing genomic testing of rare cancers to match the cancer to treatment.

“This will be the first time we see data from the NOMINATOR study and how multiplex testing can have an impact in the Australian context,” Dr Clay says.

There will also be presentations on immunotherapy, including results from the DREAM study, led by Professor Ann Nowak of the Australian Lung Cancer Trials Group (Wednesday 4 pm).

For the COSA presidential lecture (12.45 Thursday), former federal Labor MP Tim Hammond will speak on the “Politics of Cancer”

Mr Hammond was former shadow spokesman for consumer affairs and previously worked as a medical negligence lawyer.

“I think hearing how the legal world and how politicians view healthcare and his experience being in government will be very interesting because it’s an interface that many clinicians don’t have a lot of contact with in their day to day work,” says Dr Clay.

“Understanding how we can lobby government to get better care for our patients is something that will be interesting for many of us to hear.”

Pre-conference workshops (Monday November 12) include health technology assessment in oncology, the challenging patient in cancer care and the changing landscape of clinical trials.

COSA’s 45th Annual Scientific Meeting will be held November over 13 – 15 at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Follow the limbic’s coverage of #COSA18 on our website and on Twitter @thelimbiconc

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