ANZSA Newsletter - July 2021
In this edition, we share with you exciting updates on our ANZSA ASM 2021 | Clinical Trials | Sarcoma Research Grant | Sarcoma Awareness Month
Message from the CEO of ANZSA
While it is unfortunate to see a surge in COVID-19 cases in Australia and New Zealand, the ANZSA team is off to a busy first half of the year as we continue to prioritise our work delivering high-quality research and clinical trials for sarcoma patients and their families. (more details below).
We were extremely pleased to hear that the STRASS 2 trial, led by ANZSA Director, A/Prof David Gyorki, was awarded an MRFF grant. Similarly, we are grateful to receive over $100,000 for a new Ewing sarcoma clinical trial from the GPA Andrew Ursini Charitable Fund Grant 2021. I also want to thank the Kicking Goals for Xav Foundation for supporting the ANZSA Sarcoma Research Grant scheme for another year.
For the second year in a row, we will be having the ANZSA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) 2021 virtually via Zoom this year. While it may be disappointing to many, we experienced a very successful virtual ASM in 2020, and we are confident that this year will be equally as good. See more details below, and we hope to see you virtually!
Our Sarcoma Awareness Month this year continues to engage more consumers on topics that were relevant to their sarcoma journeys. We thank all who participated, fundraised, and raised awareness throughout July. More details below.
Lastly, while COVID-19 continues to be challenging for many in our sarcoma community, we are thankful for our patients, collaborators, donors and members for their continued support, generosity and trust in us and the work we do. We are all in this together.
Dr Denise Caruso | CEO of ANZSA
Register - Annual Scientific Meeting 2021
The ANZSA ASM 2021 will be fully virtual this year on Friday, 5 November (12pm-4pm AEDT) and Saturday, 6 November (9am-1pm AEDT). Please register now.
The ASM 2021 theme is “Coming together”, and we are pleased to have four esteemed international sarcoma specialists:
- Dr Alda Tam – Professor in the Department of Interventional Radiology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
- Dr Jeffrey Toretsky – Chief of Georgetown University Hospital’s Division of Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Hematology/Oncology
- Prof Michiel van de Sande – Professor in Orthopedic (paediatric) oncology in the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and as a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the Princess Maxima Center for paediatric oncology in Utrecht.
- Dr Sebastian Foersch – University of Mainz School of Medicine
This ASM is open to international and local health professionals and consumers who have an interest in sarcoma.
On both days, you will hear from four international keynote speakers, local sarcoma specialists from various disciplines (pathology, orthopaedic, radiotherapy, nurses, allied health, etc.) and selected researchers who will present abstracts of their original research.
We anticipate that there will be robust discussions on current challenges, innovations, and the latest in sarcoma research and treatment by coming together. We hope you can join us!
Abstract Submission - ANZSA ASM 2021
If you have a sarcoma-related research abstract, we encourage you to submit it by 10th September 2021. Please submit it here.
Patient Recruitment Open for FaR-RMS clinical trial
Great news for all Australian patients diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (NSW) is Australia's first sarcoma specialist centre to start patient recruitment for the all-important clinical trial – FaR-RMS: An overarching study for children and adults with Frontline and Relapsed RhabdoMyoSarcoma.
The FaR-RMS study is an overarching clinical trial that optimises radiotherapy, testing the latest promising agents, new combinations and analysing the length of therapy. This study is open to RMS patients (newly diagnosed, relapsed and progressive) of all ages (children, teenagers, young adults, and adults). Patient recruitment is anticipated for up to seven years.
The FaR-RMS study will open in more Australian and New Zealand sarcoma specialists centres in due time and will be announced accordingly. More details of the FaR-RMS study can be found here.
ANZSA wishes to acknowledge our collaborators:
- Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) as the national sponsor for Australia and New Zealand, with funding support from the Australian Government through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
- University of Birmingham (UK) as the international sponsor.
Successful MRFF Grant for STRASS 2 Trial
ANZSA Director and specialist surgical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, A/Prof David Gyorki, and his team have successfully received a grant worth almost AUD$1 million from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) under the Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need (RCRDUN) scheme.
The grant is to run the international trial in Australia – “A randomised phase III study of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgery versus surgery alone for patients with High Risk RetroPeritoneal Sarcoma (STRASS 2)”.
Eligible Australian patients with retroperitoneal sarcoma at high risk of recurrence will be able to participate in this randomised controlled trial designed to answer the question of whether preoperative chemotherapy improves outcomes for patients. Read here for more information.
Milestone Achieved for the SARC032 Trial
We are really pleased to share that the SARC032 clinical trial led by ANZSA Director, Prof Angela Hong, has now recruited 28 patients across Australia. She notes that this is the first randomised trial of combining radiation therapy with immunotherapy for localised soft tissue sarcoma patients. If the combination therapy is proven to be of benefit, it will be a landmark practice-changing trial.
ANZSA Sarcoma Research Grant 2021
We are proud to announce that our annual ANZSA Sarcoma Research Grant has been awarded to the following two recipients:
- Dr Fernando Guimaraes from The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute on his research to develop a natural killer cell-based immunotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Read more here.
- Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research for his research on targeting oncogenic drivers in therapy-resistant osteosarcoma. Read more here.
The ANZSA Sarcoma Research Grants were funded by the Kicking Goals For Xav Foundation, Stoney’s Steps, Hannah's Chance Foundation and ANZSA through our many generous individual donors.
ANZSA Sarcoma Specialist Allied Health Network
This allied health network is a newly formed professional group within ANZSA as an avenue to gather allied health professionals from Australia and New Zealand who treat sarcoma patients. The network aims to establish guidelines for allied health practice for sarcoma patients, create a patient support tool, share expertise with fellow allied health members, among others.
If you are interested to join this network, please email us at email@example.com.
ANZSA Sarcoma Journal Club
The ANZSA Sarcoma Journal Club is a forum for sarcoma experts across Australia and New Zealand to discuss interesting articles representing the best evidence to inform sarcoma clinical practice. Each session is organised every six weeks for an hour via Zoom.
The next session is on Thursday, 9th September 2021, 5pm-6pm (AEST) and is hosted by A/Prof Marianne Phillips (Perth Children’s Hospital). If you are interested in joining us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July is Sarcoma Awareness Month
ANZSA recognises July as Sarcoma Awareness Month. As the national peak body for the sarcoma community, we want to lead the sarcoma narrative through a nationwide awareness campaign.
This year’s theme was “You’re not alone. Let’s make sarcoma known!”.
A highlight of this year’s Sarcoma Awareness Month was the continued collaborations with key partners/stakeholders to promote sarcoma awareness through a series of webinars. You can watch these webinars here. We thank Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation, Rare Cancers Australia, Sock it to Sarcoma and the Victorian Cancer Comprehensive Centre (VCCC) for their partnership in delivering these webinars.
- The role of GPs in your sarcoma journey (with VCCC) - watch the recording here
- You're not alone - the unmet need for patient support (with Rare Cancers Australia) - watch the recording here
- he important role of carers (with Sock it to Sarcoma) - watch the recording here
- Shining a light on volunteers (with Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation) - watch the recording here
Thank You, Donors and Supporters
We want to thank all our generous donors for their significant contributions and donations towards sarcoma research throughout the pandemic. The sarcoma community is made up of individuals, groups, organisations and philanthropic trusts that partner with us by donating your time, energy and funds, especially during COVID-19, and we cannot be more grateful for this support. Every dollar helps and is invested in high-quality sarcoma research to find a cure and improve outcomes.