Concerted effort by cancer care partnership will mean improved treatments

UWS School of Medicine building

School of Medicine building on the UWS Campbelltown campus 

A newly-funded initiative designed to bring cancer researchers together with clinicians who treat cancer patients offers the opportunity to significantly improve treatments and the way cancer care is delivered to people in NSW.

With just over $8 million in new funding from the Cancer Institute NSW as well as partner institutions delivered over five years, the Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation, known as CONCERT, is a new and exciting collaboration of university and hospital-based researchers, clinicians and local health districts within South-Western Sydney, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven and the ACT. 

The geographical area covered by the group spreads over one quarter of NSW and serves over 6,200 new patients with cancer every year.

Leading the effort, Professor Paul de Souza of the UWS School of Medicine, says the collaboration will bring benefits to the global search for better cancer treatments as well as making a personal difference to people who are living with cancer in NSW.  

"When you use funding to support translational research, important findings will hopefully reach patients and the community quicker, so the whole timeline of any cancer research project could be shortened," he says.

"Translational cancer research is like putting more memory into a computer so that you can answer more research questions at once, a bit like operating multiple programs at the same time on your computer.

"It's a way to bring systematic research into everyday practice that maximises patient involvement; often, it will involve collecting tissues and blood samples along with clinical data and outcomes in an ongoing basis that will allow us to answer many research questions," says Professor de Souza.

The advantages of this new multi-institutional partnership approach mean that discoveries that previously could take some years to go from the research phase and into clinical treatment should now be put into practice more quickly.

"It forces lab scientists and clinicians to talk right from the start and the difference is that we try to make the research more practical and patient oriented from the beginning," says Professor de Souza.

He also notes that the other significant benefit of the CONCERT partnership is that it is likely that more medical students and clinicians will be encouraged to pursue higher medical research degrees. 

The Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT) is a collaboration between cancer research groups within South-Western Sydney, Illawarra, Shoalhaven and the ACT Health Districts. The project is funded by the Cancer Institute New South Wales, University of Western Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Wollongong and Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local District Health.

By submitting a comment you acknowledge you agree with the Terms and Conditions.