News in brief: Aussie oncologists on BIG board; Targeted therapies prolong survival in patients with IMD; Award for Prof Ian Olver


Aussie oncologists on BIG board

Two Australian oncologists will serve on the new executive board of Breast International Group (BIG) an independent, international not-for-profit umbrella organisation for academic breast cancer research groups.

Professor Sherene Loi and Professor Boon Chua are among 14 members for BIG, which represents a network of over 50 like-minded research groups from around the world who collaborate to design and conduct pioneering breast cancer trials such as the HERA (BIG 1-01) and MINDACT (BIG 3-04) studies.

Professor Loi is a medical oncologist in Melbourne specialising in the treatment of breast cancer and a clinician scientist who leads the Translational Breast Cancer Genomics and Therapeutics Laboratory at the Peter Mac.

She also represents the IBCSG & BCT-ANZ (International Breast Cancer Study Group and Breast Cancer Trials Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Boon Chua is a  Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Director of Cancer and Haematology Services at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. She represents TransTasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) & Breast Cancer Trials Australia and New Zealand.


Targeted therapies prolong survival in patients with IMD

Targeted therapies appear to improve survival in cancer patients with intracranial metastatic disease (IMD), Canadian research shows.

In a cohort study of  26 676 patients with IMD and breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, or melanoma, they found that post-IMD targeted therapy was associated with prolonged overall survival (OS) in patients with ERBB2-positive breast cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 0.41), EGFR95% CI, 0.14-0.29) compared with those who did not receive post-IMD targeted therapy.

Diagnosis of IMD was associated with shorter OS in patients with metastatic ERBB2- positive breast cancer and metastatic EGFR-positive lung and bronchus cancer, “which supports efforts to assess intracranial screening for IMD in these patients,” said the study investigators in JAMA Oncology.


Cancer leader receives biennial award from NHMRC

Former Cancer Council leader Professor Ian Olver has been named as the winner of  the 2021 NHMRC Ethics Award.

According to the NHMRC, Professor Olver of the University of Adelaide has made a significant contribution to Australian health and medical research ethics over the last decade.

“As chair of NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee, and as a valued member of NHMRC Council from 2012 to 2018, his balanced and considered leadership style and willingness to engage sensitively on tough issues have supported a wider understanding of the ethical impact of emerging health and medical research innovations and technologies,” it said.

“Professor Olver brings a breadth of perspective, intellectual heft and subtlety of insight to ethical deliberations, and NHMRC ethical advice has been richer for his engagement.”

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