The Medical Oncology Group of Australia Incorporated (MOGA) is pleased to report on another successful quarter. Membership of the Association continues to grow with the number of trainees entering speciality training in medical oncology through the Royal Australasian College of Physicians growing annually, consultant membership running at an all-time high as new Fellows have joined the Association and increasing numbers of members participating in Association initiatives. Currently, there are 411 consultant and 200 trainee members of the Association.
The MOGA Oncology Drugs Working Group, set up to pursue oncology drugs and treatment matters, as well as meet quarterly with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee as a clinical advisory body, is now well into its third year of operations. The Association has continued to work closely with regulatory agencies on long standing matters such as amending indications to reflect clinical practice for off patent drugs and strategies to address national drug shortages. The Association has been working with the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA), the pharmaceutical industry through Medicines Australia and the Generic Medicines Industry of Australia, as well as other professional groups, for some months to develop an initiative to better communicate and manage the effects of drug shortages. One outcome of this work has been the development of a searchable website and email alert service by the TGA to provide information from the pharmaceutical industry about current and anticipated shortages. The website also provides information to minimise the impact on patients’ continuing health care.
Integrating Molecular and Immunologic Advances into Practice is the theme of the 2014 MOGA Annual Scientific Meeting (Sydney Hilton, 6-8 August; Best of ASCO Australia, 9 August). Professor Paul de Souza, Professor and Foundation Chair, Medical Oncology, School of Medicine University of Western Sydney and Director, Medical Oncology, Liverpool Hospital, is the Meeting Convenor. Along with the planning team, he has organised an innovative meeting program that explores many of the contemporary challenges and advances in medical oncology research, discovery and clinical practice. The meeting’s focus on immunology, immunotherapy, biomarkers and genomics provides a timely opportunity for Australian medical oncology practitioners to review the role they play in the management of patients with cancer and how they guide drug development, as well as impact on targeted therapy. International guest speakers, Professor Alison Stopeck (US), Professor James Gulley (US) and Professor Klaus Pantel (Germany) will provide a range of perspectives on molecular and immunologic advances and related scientific and research trends. Sessions on specific tumour types will include a symposium on lung cancer with international speaker Professor Ramaswamy Govindan (US). The presidents of the major medical oncology professional organisations in Japan, Singapore and Korea will also be attending the meeting as part of the Association’s international and regional collaborative and networking activities.
At this year’s ASM, MOGA will be launching the Young Oncologists Group of Australia (YOGA). Established by three young consultant members of the Association, Drs George Au-Yeung, Deme Karikios and Hui-li Wong, YOGA aims to provide young medical oncologists who have attained their fellowship within the last five years and are members of the Association with a networking framework and assistance to facilitate their transition from advanced trainees to consultants. The group has developed a special education program to be held at the MOGA ASM.
The Association has received a record number of applications for the 10th AnniversaryAustralia and Asia Pacific Clinical Oncology Research Development Workshop (ACORD)to be held in September. ACORD has continued to grow as a major international oncology education program, with increased support from long-standing and collaborating partners: the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology, Cancer Council Australia, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, Cancer Australia, the US National Cancer Institute and the Cancer Council NSW.
To facilitate workshop applications from across the Asia Pacific region and spread clinical trials protocol development skills, late in 2013, Professor Martin Stockler, ACORD Convenor and, previous ACORD Faculty member, Dr Andrew Martin from the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, presented Turning Good Ideas into Successful Studies…Getting Started in Clinical Research: Writing a Concept Outline to start the Clinical Trails Process Workshop. This series of six one day workshops aimed to help early career researchers in India and Pakistan turn their new ideas for cancer clinical research studies into persuasive one-page research concept outlines.