The clinical trial landscape is dominated by new drugs and treatment - but what if only a small change to an already established, standard treatment could lead to better outcomes? BCBA Steering Committee member, A/Prof Craig Gedye, is leading this novel approach with the establishment of the MAGMA (Multi-Arm GlioblastoMa Australasia) clinical trial.
“We’re aiming to use multiple innovations in trial design to test changes in the way we use our existing treatments for brain cancer; changes we hope will have big impacts for future patients,” Gedye said.
The trial is currently testing temozolomide – a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat brain cancer – and making simple adjustments to when and how it is delivered within the current treatment protocol.
“These kinds of simple questions have led to significant improvements in other cancers”, he said
“It’s changed how we recommend treatment to people with prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and other cancers”.
The MAGMA trial is currently open at hospitals across Australia for people newly diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM). Please click here for more information.
BCBA consortium member Professor Leonie Quinn has developed the ACT’s first brain cancer biobank. The Head of Genome Science and Cancer Division at John Curtin School of Medical Research established the Canberra Brain Cancer Collaborative to enable biobanking and genomic-based brain cancer research, to benefit patients in the ACT and around the world.
“I am looking forward to building our collection and ensuring the samples are accessible to all Australian researchers as part of BCBA’s National Brain Cancer Biospecimen Register,” she said.
The new biobank will support the clinical research of Professor Quinn’s lab to better understand and identify mutations driving brain cancer and make important progress in developing new personalised brain cancer treatments.
“This will be critical for enabling targeted drug discovery research and improved outcomes for patients”.
We are delighted that BCBA’s fundraising arm, the Brain Cancer Collective (BCC), has been chosen as charity partner for the ABC’s Andrew Olle Media Lecture. The event is held annually to honour one of Australia’s most iconic broadcasters, Andrew Olle, who lost his life to brain cancer.
BCC Chair, Professor Michael Besser AM and Directors, Robyn Leonard and Sharon Bell were privileged to share the BCBA/BCC story to raise awareness and much needed funds at this prestigious media event.
Associate Professor Eng-Siew Koh brings a unique perspective to the BCBA Steering Committee. An academic radiation oncologist and Chair of the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO), Koh represents the leap from research enabled by BCBA tissue banking into clinical trials.
“Moving from the lab to the patient space via clinical trials requires collaboration at the highest level – and I am honoured to be part of that team approach.”
A/Prof Koh describes her role as COGNO Chair as her biggest professional achievement. She is committed to its broad portfolio of clinical trials and driven by the intellectual challenge of research,
“I enjoy the opportunity to make a contribution to progressing knowledge and ultimately improving outcomes for brain cancer patients,” she said.
Brain Cancer Awareness Month has begun with wonderful recognition for our Founding Chair, Professor Michael Besser AM, who has been awarded the 2022 Neurosurgical Society of Australasia Medal in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to neurosurgery and the neurosurgical community.
Professor Besser spearheaded the development of the BCBA Consortium in 2015 and his leadership and knowledge have been invaluable since. He became an integral part of the vision for BCBA following his care for Lucie Leonard as her neurosurgeon.
“I’m sure we’re not the only family forever grateful for his skill and care as we came to grips with the realities of a brain cancer diagnosis,’ said BCBA Founder, Robyn Leonard.
Congratulations to Professor Besser from all at BCBA!
A massive thank you to all those who travelled down to the Southern Highlands and took to the road (braving the many potholes) to support our fundraising arm, the Brain Cancer Collective, and in turn the work of the BCBA Consortium. As our Director, Robyn Leonard says,
'These passionate cyclists are the heart and soul of our charity. We’re just so grateful for their support, particularly to Kent Williams at Entoure de Vines who organised this event in lieu of our annual 2-day Bike Ride for Brain Cancer – postponed yet again due to COVID, but hopefully back on the road in 2023.'
To all involved with the SOHN HEARTS & MINDS Investment Leaders Conference we say thank you for your valuable ongoing support for the work we do every day to bring about change in brain cancer.
Because of you we are able to keep putting in the hard yards needed to provide access to scarce tissue samples for research and build a long overdue registry of clinical data to improve the delivery of care for all brain cancer patients.
Working with BCBA members at the Sid Faithful Brain Cancer Laboratory and Cell Culture Bank at QIMR-Berghofer, Dr Lachlan Harris has received grant funding for his novel approach to tackling the deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma (GBM). Calling on his experience as a developmental biologist, Dr Harris is targeting GBM by attacking the slowly dividing or ‘sleeping’ stem cells that resist treatment and cause the tumour to recur. By forcing these cells to ‘wake up’ and divide rapidly, they become more vulnerable to chemotherapy, thereby delaying or even preventing recurrence. It’s an approach that has been shown to be effective in leukaemia, but to date has not been tested in brain cancer.
Thank you to our amazing collaborators and supporters. Despite the many challenges of the past year, BCBA has enjoyed some fantastic successes and we look forward to continuing our work with you in 2022 to bring about change in brain cancer.
Wishing everyone a happy, restful and safe holiday season.
BCBA is very proud to have this work published in the prestigious international Journal of Neuro-Oncology Practice https://doi.org/10.1093/nop/npab055
BCBA Chair, A/Prof Lindy Jeffree, led the team developing this world-first set of clinical Indicators, which will benchmark the collection of data for BCBA’s Australian Brain Cancer Registry initiative. The aim of this project is to identify, describe and measure the impact of variation and gaps in brain cancer care across Australia, with the overarching goal of ensuring that all brain cancer patients receive the best existing treatment.
BCBA Founder/Director, Robyn Leonard is still fundraising for brain cancer research because the stats haven’t changed!! For decades people diagnosed with brain cancer have faced with the same dismal outcomes.
Transitioning from clinical nutritionist to pre-clinical researcher, BCBA Steering Committee member, Prof Bryan Day, has not only gained national and international recognition for the brain cancer research program he has established at QIMR Berghofer’s Sid Faithfull Brain Cancer Research Laboratory, but also for the much sought-after GBM cell lines the lab is generating.
“These models are freely available to the scientific community” says Prof Day. “We want to make sure that brain cancer researchers have access to these materials to ignite discoveries and get new treatments for this disease”.
Prof Day and his team have been collaborating with the neurosurgeons at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital to develop a brain tumour tissue bank, collecting over 350 samples to date. It is from these specimens that the primary cell lines are derived to facilitate both their own research and that of collaborating researchers around the world.
“This work is a testament to the critical importance of biobanking in enabling next generation brain cancer research”, says BCBA’s Founder/Director Robyn Leonard.
Like many scientists, a fascination with what we don’t know led Professor Jenny Byrne to choose a career in research,
“It seemed like the only option, and it still does” she says.
A molecular oncology professor, Byrne’s passion for biobanking has seen her transition from lab researcher to Director of Biobanking for NSW Health Pathology and focus her efforts on investigating the contribution made to research by human tissue biobanks.
Prof Byrne is not only a leader in the biobanking field, but also a prominent figure in the world of science publishing. Her remarkable work in exposing fraudulent academic manuscripts was recognised with a 2017 listing in Nature’s 10 – the renowned journal’s annual list of the 10 people who mattered most in science.
Jenny’s particular interest in the networking of biobanks at a national level led to her early and ongoing involvement with BCBA. Asked about her continuing commitment to the Consortium’s work she said,
"It’s so important that biobanks and researchers can talk with each other – and it’s great to work with a group with a national vision for both brain cancer research and biobank support of research.”
ADVANCE BRAIN CANCER RESEARCHSUPPORT US