Chief Executive Officer's Report
Chief Executive Officer's Report
Chief Executive Officer's Report
Chief Executive Officer, ANZUP
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER'S REPORT
Every new ground-breaking treatment has been a result of clinical trials research.
ANZUP’s mission is to improve the lives of people affected by bladder, kidney, testicular, penile and prostate cancers through practice-changing multidisciplinary collaborative clinical trials. By performing clinical trials we are able to generate new evidence for better treatments, or ways of providing other support.
ANZUP continues to develop and lead clinical trials that will help us all understand these diseases better and provide better treatments and support. Our work is being recognised on the global scale as being important and transformative. We have 25 clinical trials with almost 8,000 participants from over 250 unique sites around the world.
Over the past 12 months, ANZUP has continued to achieve significant milestones, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of many of our dedicated members.
In terms of conducting high-quality, multidisciplinary, practice-changing clinical trials some of the highlights included:
In line with ANZUP’s strategic plan to promote and encourage members to bring new concepts forward for idea development, we continue to hold our Idea Generation Workshops (IGW). These annual workshops are designed to facilitate and support our members who have an idea that might be immature, in order to obtain advice on further development and input on the project’s scientific value, design, funding support and acceptability. All members are invited to submit concepts for discussion. This is particularly valuable for junior or early career researchers. Concepts that are approved for further development have a working group assigned including members from our consumer advisory panel (CAP). The workshops also provide a supportive environment for “brainstorming” and “horizon scanning” to generate new ideas and opportunities. We are extremely proud of the pipeline of new trials that are at various stages of development across ANZUP’s portfolio and will continue to advance throughout 2023/2024.
I am delighted to report that ANZUP once again secured our Cancer Australia infrastructure grant from 2022 to 2024. This funding is extremely valuable however every time our members come up with a new trial idea, we need to find the funds to conduct the trial. It is therefore critical for ANZUP to continue to build greater financial independence and self-sufficiency through a number of fundraising avenues. The Cancer Australia funding is also contingent upon our ability to meet certain metrics, including numbers of trials, number of trial participants, number of sites including new sites, and engagement of rural, regional, and remote sites. In addition to these reporting metrics, Cancer Australia has added some additional priorities including increasing trial participation among areas/groups of low uptake and vulnerable populations, in line with the Australian Government’s priority to reduce disparity in cancer outcomes.
ANZUP’s membership continues to grow steadily, and at the time of writing this report, we have surpassed 2,000 members spanning various disciplines, craft groups and regions.
Our Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) is the peak regional multidisciplinary meeting for genitourinary cancers in this part of the world. It brings together our multidisciplinary network of leading expert clinicians, researchers as well as members of our Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP) to discuss and present the latest cutting edge treatment and research in urogenital and prostate cancer and to learn more about existing and planned ANZUP trials. For the first time in 3 years, we saw a return to the face to face meeting welcoming around 400 delegates to the event. The theme ‘No Longer on Mute: Patients, Carers and Our Research Community’ provided a voice for many groups – the patient, carers, vulnerable communities, other disciplines, and the research community to discuss clinical trials. We had more than 80 speakers, panelists, session chairs and poster presenters, including the outstanding international faculty of Himisha Beltran, Noel Clarke, Christopher Sweeney, Andrew Loblaw, Bertrand Tombal, Samra Turajlic, and Susanne Vahr Lauridsen. We also presented the inaugural ANZUP Outstanding Leadership Award to Associate Professor Guy Toner. There are many reasons Guy was awarded this accolade. In addition to being a genuinely wonderful person, he has been a dedicated clinician to his many patients and their families over a lifetime. He has provided guidance and mentorship to so many of us, ANZUP would not be here without him. Thank you Guy!
Again, for the first time in 3 years, we welcomed back our Melbourne and Sydney Pedalthon face-to-face events in 2022 and 2023, and we held our third virtual Below the Belt #YourWay Challenge during the month of May. We are extremely grateful for the generous support we receive from our donors, supporters, and the entire community. Thank you.
ANZUP was very proud and excited to launch the Synchrony Fellowship thanks to receiving a very generous philanthropic grant for the next 2 years providing support for prostate and urogenital cancer research. The spirit of the award is to build a research project that addresses the following core elements:
- Investment in people;
- Work on existing ANZUP trial data; &
- Capacity building.
A call for applications has gone out to the membership and we look forward to announcing the recipient of the inaugural Synchrony Fellowship Award. Many thanks to the Grays for their very generous support of this exciting new initiative.
Strategic & Business Planning
In 2021, ANZUP conducted a comprehensive review of our Strategic Plan, leading to the identification of five key Strategic Goals for the next three years, 2022 until 2024.
- Conduct high-quality, multidisciplinary, practice-changing clinical trials in urogenital cancers
- Maintain a portfolio of trials relevant to and accessible by all people with urogenital cancers in Australia and New Zealand
- Strengthen ANZUP’s capacity for practice-changing clinical trials
- Forward plan to maintain a vibrant and active urogenital cancer trials community
- Provide leadership in collaborative cancer clinical trials
With unwavering support from our dedicated membership, key stakeholders, and the wider ANZUP community, we remain resolute in our pursuit of these goals, driven by our overarching mission: To improve the lives of people affected by bladder, kidney, testicular, penile and prostate cancers through practice-changing multidisciplinary collaborative clinical trials.
Throughout the year, we maintained a regular schedule of meetings with various committees and subcommittees, including the Finance & Audit Committee, Fundraising and Promotion Subcommittee, Operations Executive, Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), SAC subcommittees, Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP), and Trial Management Committees (TMC). These meetings help to ensure that all our ANZUP activities align harmoniously with our Mission and Strategic Plan, enabling us to make informed decisions and drive progress towards our goals.
ANZUP is grateful for the ongoing infrastructure funding received from the Australian Government through Cancer Australia. While we highly value this support, it is important to note that independent funding is required for each clinical trial. Therefore, it is crucial for ANZUP to strive for greater financial independence and self-sufficiency by exploring various fundraising avenues.
We remain fully committed to seeking sustainable and innovative funding options to initiate trials and provide support to our members in their concept and trial development in GU cancer. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our corporate supporters, sponsors, and donors for their continued support and generosity. With their invaluable assistance, ANZUP will be able to discover improved treatments and outcomes for patients with GU/below the belt cancers.
ANZUP’s strong financial position enables us to maintain our investment in research. We will continue to exercise prudence in managing our budget and investment strategy to ensure the sustainability of our vital research endeavours. A solid balance sheet empowers ANZUP to seize important opportunities as they arise.
For more detailed information regarding ANZUP’s finances, please refer to our financial report available here.
Data and quality
ANZUP collaborates closely with its coordinating centres, including the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, the Centre for Biostatistics and Clinical Trials (BaCT), the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), and The George Institute for Global Health, to establish robust processes for trial development and operations. These organizations employ quality management systems, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and templates to ensure accuracy and consistency throughout the trial process. Prior to going live, data systems undergo meticulous planning, programming, and thorough checks to ensure their reliability. In addition, monitoring and formal audit processes are in place to complement these activities. ANZUP provides annual training to significant site staff members to ensure the maintenance of data quality. All procedures and data systems comply with national and international guidelines on the conduct of clinical trials.
To further ensure the safety and well-being of patients participating in ANZUP trials, we have established an Independent Data and Safety Monitoring Committee (IDSMC). The IDSMC evaluates the plausible benefits and risks associated with patient participation in ANZUP trials and assesses whether these trials should continue as per their original design. The IDSMC periodically reviews trial data and informs the ANZUP SAC Chair and the relevant Trial Management Committee (TMC).
We acknowledge and thank our dedicated and committed management team who work tirelessly to support me, our members, key stakeholders and the broader community. Continuously assessing our current workload and capacity, we have worked hard to ensure that ANZUP has the necessary expertise and resources to support our membership in their research endeavours. In particular looking at clinical trials management systems, trial coordination and support, internal and external communications tools, educational event management, fundraising and corporate partnerships, and administrative support.
We are also extremely fortunate to have the continued support and friendship of our dedicated volunteers, Lesley Tinkler and Jo Stubbs.
We extend our thanks to our hardworking colleagues at NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre (CTC), the Centre of Biostatistics and Clinical Trials (BaCT), Walter and Eliza Hall Research Institute (WEHI), Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and The George Institute for Global Health (TGI), thank you for your tireless efforts and support over the last 12 months.
Education and mentoring
ANZUP is committed to expanding the education and mentoring opportunities for our members. As previously noted, we host a variety of educational events to further their education and continue to sow the seeds for new clinical trial concepts. We understand the importance of nurturing the next generation of scientists and clinical researchers, as they will be the leaders in the new clinical trials that will be carried out in the coming years and decades.
During 2022 and 2023 we held our Idea Generation Workshops (IGWs), and we were delighted to welcome people back face-to-face (and via Zoom). We saw 164 attendees with 26 concepts presented to our multidisciplinary members. These workshops are where many of the “seeds” for ANZUP clinical trials are first sown, and they are important to grow and foster a pipeline of innovative ideas to be considered for support from ANZUP to progress.
In late 2022 we held our inaugural ANZUP Prostate Cancer Rapid Fire Program in Sydney. The multidisciplinary educational program was developed to facilitate further understanding of contemporary oncology management through advances in clinical trials and covered landmark clinical trials in prostate cancer, as well as providing mentorship from experts in the field to junior consultants and trainees. Many thanks to the Convenor Jarad Martin, and Co-convenors Ciara Conduit and Cam McLaren.
ANZUP is extremely proud of the collaborations we have forged with our national and international clinical trials research groups in our efforts to improve treatment and outcomes for patients.
We are pleased to work alongside dedicated investigators and trial staff from over 250 unique sites across 9 countries, as well as our colleagues at the NHMRC CTC, the Centre of Biostatistics and Clinical Trials (BaCT), Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and The George Institute for Global Health.
We express our deepest gratitude to our corporate supporters, sponsors, and donors for their ongoing support and generosity. Your contributions enable ANZUP to continue its vital work, as we endeavour to improve treatments and outcomes for people affected by these below the belt cancers.
As we reflect on the year that was, and the challenges we faced both personally and professionally, I would like to thank and acknowledge our extraordinary ANZUP Board, led by our Chair Prof Ian Davis, the SAC, Subcommittee Chairs, the CAP, Deputy Chairs, Study Chairs, Site Investigators and the hundreds of Trial Staff and members. ANZUP would not exist without you and we certainly wouldn’t have achieved what we have without your tireless efforts.
Finally, thank you to the many thousands of patients who participate in our ANZUP trials. Each and every one of you help us achieve our mission: To improve treatment and outcomes for patients and their families affected by these below the belt cancers.
I commend ANZUP’s 2022/2023 Annual Report to you.
Chief Executive Officer, ANZUP