It's been another exciting year full of world leading cancer research and care at Peter Mac. Take a look back at some of the highlights of 2018.

JANUARY

  • Researchers from Peter Mac were the recipients of half of the available 14 Victorian Cancer Agency grants

Peter Mac’s funding, totalling almost $3.5M, is supporting a range of research projects including into prostate cancer, breast cancer, neuroendocrine tumours and blood cancers.

Peter Mac researchers awarded half of all VCA grants for 2018
  • Peter Mac manuscript announced in top 10 of 2017

A Peter Mac-led study was selected as one of the 10 most outstanding manuscripts for 2017 by editors of the prestigious haematology journal Blood, strengthening our international reputation as a leader in blood cancer research. Peter Mac/RMH haematologist, Director of Clinical Aphaeresis and Myeloma Group Lead, A/Prof Simon Harrison, was the senior author on the study, involving an international team of researchers including from the Nantes University Hospital in France, AbbVie and Prof Andrew Roberts from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI).​ READ MORE.

A/Prof Simon Harrison

FEBRUARY

  • Funding for important Peter Mac ovarian cancer research TRACEBACK

The Federal Government committed $2.96 million to fund ​​​​TRACEBACK, a ground-breaking collaboration between Peter Mac’s Prof David Bowtell and Ovarian Cancer Australia, involves genetic testing around 1,500 tissue specimens collected from Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer over the past 15 years. READ MORE.

Prof David Bowtell
  • HER2 and HER3 protein study

An international study involving Professor Sherene Loi Peter Mac patients is the first in the world to clinically characterise the therapeutic importance of a diverse set of mutations affecting the HER2 and HER3 proteins. READ MORE.

Professor Sherene Loi, head of the Translational Breast Cancer Genomics Laboratory at Peter Mac
Prof Sherene Loi
  • Ground breaking Peter Mac research changes diagnosis for rare bone marrow disorder

The Peter Mac PanHaem genetic test, developed by Dr Piers Blombery and his lab, is a gene panel test which can profile all types of blood cancers (including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma) as well as confirm a diagnosis of aplastic anaemia (AA).

Dr Pier Blombury
  • Peter Mac hosts Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Centre

Peter Mac hosted Prof Dingwei Ye, Vice President of Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Centre. Our institutions signed a Sister Agreement in 2016 to forge new Australia-China research collaborations and clinical exchange - particularly in hi-tech robotic surgery. 

Prof Dingwei Ye, Vice President of Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Centre, visits Peter Mac

MARCH

  • Funding boost for research into rare cancers

A team of researchers, led by Peter Mac’s Prof Rod Hicks, was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the US-based Neuroendocrine Tumour Research Foundation (NETRF) to study new treatment approaches for this rare and difficult to treat cancer.

Professor Rod Hicks
  • Marliese Alexander wins Lea Medal

Pharmacist & researcher Marliese Alexander received Peter Mac's 2018 Lea Award. This award promotes our early to mid-career female researchers. Highly-commended was senior research fellow Elaine Sanij.

  • Peter Mac researcher Elaine Sanij heads on exchange to Dana Farber in the US

Peter Mac's Elaine Sanij went to the Dana–Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to continue her work on DNA repair therapies for cancer. International partnerships like this both develop the capability of our people and ensure the very latest in cancer research & care is available to Victorians.

Dr Elaine Sanij
  • Peter Mac researchers receive 2018 Premier's Awards 

researchers, Dr Benjamin Teh and Dr Gabrielle Haeusler, were presented with a 2018 Premier's Award for excellence in health and medical research by then health minister Jill Hennessy.

Dr Gabrielle Haeusler (second from left) and Dr Ben Teh (eighth from right)
  • Joint Peter Mac study shows melanoma rates falling.

A joint Peter Mac, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital study found that melanoma rates in under 55s has fallen over the past 20 years in Victoria. Researchers said that incidence rates have plateaued or declined, thanks to sun-smart campaigns that began in the 1980s.

APRIL

  • Breakthrough drug driving a major shift in the treatment of a range of blood cancers, Peter Mac joint trial shows. 

Results of two new venetoclax trials – the MURANO Study involving patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) and AIM Study in Mantle-Cell Lymphoma (MCL) – were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Both trials involved patients whose blood cancer had relapsed or had become resistant to conventional treatment, used venetoclax in combination with another targeted drug, and these treatment combinations resulted in high rates of patients with no detectable cancer.

Professor John Seymour at Peter Mac speaking about the break-through clinical trials
  • Singer Dami Im visits Peter Mac 

Dami Im, ambassador for the Sony Foundation, dropped by Peter Mac's youth cancer centre to meet some of our young patients.

Singer Dami Im with Peter Mac patients
  • Record funds raised for You Can 

The Sony Foundation River4Ward raised a record $770K for You Can youth cancer centres around Australia – including the centre on level one at Peter Mac. 

Singer Dami Im poses with Peter Mac patients at the Sony Foundation River4Ward event.

MAY 

  • International Women's Forum tours Peter Mac

The International Women’s Forum took a tour of Peter Mac to see our world class centre in action. The forum is comprised of more than 6,800 diverse and accomplished women from 33 nations dedicated to building better leadership locally and globally.

The International Women’s Forum took a tour of Peter Mac
  • Peter Mac hosts COSA position statement on exercise during cancer treatment 

Peter Mac's Chief Medical Officer David Speakman endorsed COSA's Position Statement on Exercise in Cancer Care. The statement highlighted the many benefits for patients, and shows how exercise should become standard practice in cancer care.

Chief medical Officer David Speakman speaking with journalists at the COSA launch
  • Celebrating Peter Mac's long serving volunteers
Some of Peter Mac's longest serving volunteers
  • New targeted therapy shows remarkable results in Peter Mac trial

The treatment LuPSMA (Lutetium-177 PSMA-617) involves a radioactive molecule that is purpose made to bind to prostate cancer cells, enabling the targeted delivery of radiation to kill these tumours. Professor Michael Hofman, who led the trial at Peter Mac, says the responses were remarkable and supported starting a larger, randomised and multi-site trial of LuPSMA. READ MORE.

Shaun Jenkinson (ANSTO), AProf Anthony Lowe (PCFA), AProf Michael Hofman (Study Chair) and Marg McJannett (ANZUP) at the OPAL reactor
  •  Peter Mac scientists shine light on how organ size is controlled

The research, led by Professor Kieran Harvey and published in the journal Current Biology, for the first time filmed the process which determines how big our organs grow, yielding new insights into the “Hippo pathway”. A better understanding of this long-preserved mechanism – which has changed little through time and is seen across species – may help to develop new therapeutics for the treatment of cancer.

Professor Kieran Harvey
Professor Kieran Harvey
  • Peter Mac hosts Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Hawthorn Skipper Jarryd Roughead

Minister Hunt and Roughead launched the new NHMRC public awareness campaign about clinical trials.

Health Minister Greg Hunt at Peter Mac for the NHMRC campaign launch
  • Peter Mac marks IDAHOBIT with guest lecture

Peter Mac supported International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia with a lecture from Starlady about the importance of staff training so that gender diverse people receive supportive care in hospital. 

Starlady delivers a lecture at Peter Mac for IDAHOBIT
  • Peter Mac researchers elected fellows of AAS

Peter Mac's Prof Joe Trapani and Prof David Bowtell were  elected Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science for their outstanding contribution to science and scientific research.

Profs Trapani and Bowtell become AAS fellows
  • Peter Mac researchers identify a potent and previously under appreciated way cancer cells are destroyed, involving Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF).

The study, led by Dr Jane Oliaro and Professor Ricky Johnstone, highlights the importance of this inflammatory cytokine in destroying cancer cells that may avoid being killed directly by the immune system’s T cells. The discovery opens a potential new pathway for developing drugs to harness the anti-cancer powers of TNF, particularly to boost the effectiveness of other block-buster immunotherapy drugs.

Researchers identified a potent and previously underappreciated way that cancer cells are destroyed, involving Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF).
  • Peter Mac Volunteer and patient, the late Samuel Symons, wins minister's award. 

Sam won a Minister for Health Volunteer Award for his outstanding work advocating for people living with cancer. 

JUNE 

  • Peter Mac clinical trial shows promising results for previously incurable skin cancers.

Previously incurable skin cancers have responded to the new anti-PD1 therapy  drug in almost fifty per cent of patients on a Peter Mac clinical trial. Results of the Cemiplimab drug trial, led by Professor Danny Rischin, have shown 29 out of 59 patients with advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma had their cancers significantly reduced. 

Professor Danny Rischin
  • Peter Mac board director receives AM

Peter Mac Director Les Reti was awarded an AM for his significant service to medicine in the field of gynaecology and women’s health as a clinician and educator.

professor Les Reti
  • Footy stars visit Peter Mac ahead of Peter Mac Cup

Collingwood's Brodie Grundy and Carlton's Jack Silvagn visited Peter Mac to chat with some of our young patients and make a round of healthy smoothies ahead of their Peter Mac Cup clash at the MCG. The game was won by Collingwood. 

Carlton FC player Jack Silnagni and Collingwood FC's Brodie Grundy at Peter Mac
  •  New art for Peter Mac's youth day ward and inpatient rooms

The walls of Peter Mac’s youth day ward and inpatient rooms have been transformed into a magical, whimsical world by acclaimed Australian artist Ghostpatrol. READ MORE

New art for Peter Mac's youth ward by street artist Ghost Patrol
  • Peter Mac study shows new understanding of how the immune system responds to breast cancer 

Peter Mac scientists described in unprecedented detail how the immune system responds to breast cancer, identifying a potential new target for immunotherapy treatments.​​​​​​​ The study, led by Professor Sherene Loi, involved a genetic analysis of more than 6300 white blood cells found within tumour samples collected from 129 Peter Mac patients with breast cancer.​​​​​​​

Professor Sherene Loi
  • Trial shows SABR is feasible, safe for some men with advanced prostate cancer 

​​​​​​​A Peter Mac clinical trial using a highly advanced, single-dose radiotherapy treatment halted the spread of prostate cancer in some men, delaying the need for conventional lifelong hormone therapy. The POPSTAR trial, led by Associate Professor Shankar Siva, involved patients whose prostate cancer had limited spread (one to three additional sites) and who would typically be put on lifelong hormone therapy. 

A/Prof Shankar Siva
  • Peter Mac researcher wins Image of the Year

A compilation of scans of eight Peter Mac patients, created by Professor Michael Hofman and his research team from Peter Mac, was declared “Image of the Year” by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in the United States.

2018 image of the Year

JULY 

  • Australian High Commissioner to Malta visits Peter Mac 

Australian High Commissioner to Malta Julienne Hince came for a tour of Peter Mac. She met with Prof Danny Rischin, Head of Medical Oncology, who took her on a tour to see our world-leading #cancer research and treatment centre in action.

Australian High Commissioner to Malta, Julienne Hince, with Peter Mac's Prof Danny Rischin 
  • Peter Mac researchers scoop our out of five Vic Cancer Agency Grants

Peter Mac’s recipients are Dr Marliese Alexander, Dr Elizabeth Pearson, Dr Gabrielle Haeusler and Dr Lisa Grech. The successful researchers will look into the prevention of cancer-associated blood clots, reducing medication errors, developing guidelines for treating cancer-related fatigue and reducing complications from childhood cancer treatment. READ MORE.

VCA grant recipients at announcement at Peter Mac.
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visits Peter Mac

Peter Mac hosted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Health Minister Greg Hunt for the announcement of $5m additional funding for the Zero Childhood Cancer Program under the Australian Brain Cancer Mission and a facility tour. The PM stopped for a selfie with Prof Sherene Loi in the lab.

Health Minister Greg Hunt, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Mac's Prof Sherene Loi
  • Peter Mac hosts Greg Hunt and CanTeen for funding announcement 

The minister announced $3.2m for four clinical trials for adolescent and young adult cancer patients, including one at Peter Mac for Ewing Sarcoma led by Dr Jayesh Desai and Dr Susie Bae.

Health Minister Greg hunt announces funding for youth cancer research
  • Victorian Governor visits Peter Mac 

The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria visited Peter Mac and met members of our youth advisory board, senior nurses and also spoke with Sherene Loi in her lab.

Victorian Governor Linda Dessau visits Peter Mac
  • Peter Mac clinical trial shows combination therapy for follicular lymphoma delivers better disease control

The international clinical trial - led by Peter Mac’s Professor Michael MacManus - showed that a combination therapy significantly improves long-term disease control for patients with localised, follicular lymphoma compared to radiotherapy alone.

Professor Michael MacManus

AUGUST 

  • Peter Mac signs MoU with VACCHO

Peter Mac signed an MoU with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc. It is a commitment to working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to improve cancer outcomes and experience of care at Peter Mac. We were privileged to partner with VACCHO to advise us in our future work.

Peter Mac signs MoU with VACCHO
  • Scientists at Peter Mac and Cardiff University  identify important genetic driver of aggressive prostate cancer

The study, led by UK-based Dr Helen Pearson in conjunction with Peter Mac’s Professor Wayne Phillips, found that mice with mutated Pik3cagene went on to develop castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRCP).​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Professor Wayne Phillips
  • Professor Ricky Johnstone becomes new Executive Director of Cancer Research 

In competition against a strong field of international applicants, Ricky’s appointment was a great acknowledgement of his scientific and leadership skills, experience and ambition.

Professor Ricky Johnstone becomes Exec Dir of Cancer Research
  • Fellowships for two Peter Mac researchers 

Peter Mac researchers Dr Louise Cheng and Dr Michelle Yong were awarded prominent fellowships from the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. 

Dr Michelle Yong and Dr Louise Cheng
  • Virtual reality trial for young Peter Mac radiotherapy patients

Young patients are using Virtual Reality goggles to experience what radiotherapy is like before they come to Peter Mac for treatment, as part of a ground-breaking trial funded by the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation. READ MORE.

Young patients have been using virtual reality as part of a ground-breaking trial at Peter Mac

SEPTEMBER

  • Peter Mac signs MoU with ACT Government and ANU 

Peter Mac signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ACT Government and Australian National University (ANU) to expand access to clinical trials and genomics services for ACT cancer patients. 

Peter Mac signs MoU with ACT government and ANU
  • Funding for Peter Mac trial to test if radiation can boost immunotherapy in merkel cell carcinoma 

An Australia and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group (ANZMTG) clinical trial led by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre investigators that aims to develop a novel treatment combination for a rare neuroendocrine cancer received $AU1.8m funding from the Medical Research Future Fund.

Funding for Peter Mac trial to test if radiation can boost immunotherapy in merkel cell carcinoma

OCTOBER 

  • Unified computer system linking all Peter Mac campuses installed

A unified computer system which supports delivery of cutting-edge radiotherapy services across Peter Mac’s five Victorian campuses. The new cloud-based radiation therapy treatment planning system provides Peter Mac’s Radiation Oncologists, Radiation Therapists and Medical Physicists across Victoria with advanced tools to provide the very best care to our patients.

New unified, cloud based system linking Peter Mac campuses
  • Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency visits Peter Mac 

A delegation from the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency visited Peter Mac to discuss latest in nuclear medicine, a cutting edge field which is delivering better outcomes in hard to treat cancers. ​​​​​​​

A delegation from the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency visited Peter Mac
  • Peter Mac awarded Premier's Large Health Service of the Year Award 
Peter Mac was awarded the 2018 Premier's Large Health Service of the Year Award
  • Peter Mac oncologist elected as Fellow of the AAHMS 

​​​​​​​Peter Mac medical oncologist Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips who has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).​​​​​​​

Professor Kelly-Anne Phillips elected as fellow of AAHMS
  •  Peter Mac launches Extended Recovery Unit Trial

Peter Mac launches an innovative new model of heightened care for patients, who are identified as being at medium risk of post-operative complications. READ MORE.

Peter Mac launches a trial of an Extended Recovery Unit
  • Top Cancer Council Fellowship for Prof Mark Dawson 

​​​​​​​Professor Mark Dawson announced as a recipient of Cancer Council Victoria's Sir Edward Dunlop Research Fellowship. The Fellowship provides $1.55M over five years to support Prof Dawson's pioneering research into epigenetic regulators, unlocking their potential to support new cancer treatments.​​​​​​​

Prof Mark Dawson receives Cancer Council Fellowship
  • Cookie Executive Chef visits to cook for patients

Executive Chef od Melbourne restaurant Cookie was the celebrity chef for this year's Guest Chef day. Ms Batson Cooked a three course meal for some of our patients who are part of our Parent Matters program.

Cookie Executive Chef Karen Batson
  •  Inaugural Girls' Day Out at Peter Mac

Girls' Day Out was held in our Wellbeing Centre - an incredible day inspired by the amazing Emily Somers from Bravery Co who donated 200 stunning headscarves for Peter Mac patients (and taught everyone how to tie them). Patients enjoyed pampering sessions and delicious food. 

The inaugural Girls' Day out was a hit with patients
  • Life Sciences Prize for Peter Mac Professor

Peter Mac’s Professor John Seymour and Professor Andrew Roberts, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, have jointly received the 2018 Victoria Prize for Life Sciences.​​​​​​​

Prof Seymour wins Life Sciences Prize
  • Peter Mac study on understanding how obesity can trigger liver cancer 

​​​​​​​New research into the link between obesity and liver cancer, led by Peter Mac and Monash University, has indicated patients won't always develop serious liver diseases as a precursor to cancer.​​​​​​​ The research was led by Professor Tony Tiganis who is Head of the Cancer Metabolism Program at Peter Mac. READ MORE.

Professor Tony Tiganis
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation's Unite to Fight - Run, Ride, Walk 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​$1.3M raised for life-saving cancer research at Peter Mac. The incredible fundraising efforts of our Unite to Fight Cancer family brings Peter Mac cancer researchers one step closer to the next important breakthrough in the search for cancer cures.

Peter Mac Unite to Fight raises $1.3M for cancer research
  •  Peter Mac radiologist wins education award

Radiologist Dr Arian Lasocki received the 2018 MSD Hubert Stuerzl Memorial Educational Award. The $15K prize will support Dr Lasocki to attend the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, and ASNR 2019 conference in Boston.​​​​​​​

Dr Arian Lasocki receives 2018 MSD Hubert Stuerzl Memorial Educational Award

NOVEMBER 

  • NHMRC grants for Peter Mac research

Peter Mac recognised the generosity of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation for their $2M research grant which has provided researchers from Peter Mac and our VCCC partners with cutting edge tech which will help them break new ground in cancer research.​​​​​​​

NHMRC Grants for Peter Mac
  • First-in-class perforin inhibitors may help to treat severe acute hepatitis B 

An experimental drug developed by Peter Mac’s Professor Joe Trapani could help prevent deaths from one of the world’s most common viral infections, hepatitis B.​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Professor Joe Trapani
Professor Joe Trapani
  • New test to help patients with recurrent rectal cancer avoid major surgery

Peter Mac researchers have found a way to predict which patients with locally advanced rectal cancers might be diverted into a “watch and wait” group, potentially avoiding the need for lower bowel removal surgery and its life-long consequences. The new test, developed by Professors Robert Ramsay (pictured right) and Alexander Heriot (left) at Peter Mac, has made it possible to identify those patients who have a powerful immune response after their chemoradiotherapy and who can safely delay any further surgery. READ MORE.

  • Peter Mac's professor tops global citations

Peter Mac’s Prof Sherene Loi was ranked in the top 1% globally by citations in the category of Clinical Medicine for 2018.​​​​​​​

DECEMBER

  • Peter Mac researchers present 40 papers at the prestigious American Society of Haematology (ASH) conference

Professors John Seymour, Mark Dawson and Sarah-Jane Dawson, and Dr Piers Blombery, spoke as presenting authors at the ASH annual scientific meeting in San Diego recently. Attendees learned the latest about their discoveries and successful clinical trials at Peter Mac. These presentations were among a total of 40 papers delivered with Haematology staff as contributing authors, including 16 oral presentations.​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Professor John Seymour at ASH
  • World First 3D bio-printer installed at Peter Mac to accelerate cancer research

Peter Mac installed the first model of an Australian-designed 3D bio-printer, which promises to dramatically accelerate research into potential new cancer drugs.​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson with the new bio-printer
  • NHMRC grants to fund broad pipeline of research at Peter Mac 

Peter Mac research projects received more than $17.6m in the latest grant round from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Prof Kieran Harvey discussing his latest NHMRC-funded research with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
  • Peter Mac delivers more world-class cancer research to the regions

In a Victorian first, Peter Mac is expanding its services to patients at the Albury-Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre and Bendigo Health, with new initiatives combining world-class research and remote delivery of clinical trials.​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Associate Professor Kate Burbury
  • Peter Mac to lead an international study of whether type of anaesthetic used in surgery affects outcomes for cancer patients

Peter Mac's Professor Bernhard Riedel will lead an international study that will determine if the type of anaesthetic used in cancer surgery affects patient recovery and survival rates.​​​​​​​ The VAPOR-C (Volatile Anaesthesia and Perioperative Outcomes Related to Cancer) Trial, will compare two common forms of general anaesthetic used in cancer surgery – inhaled gas (such as sevoflurane) and total intravenous (given via a drip) anaesthesia with propofol, combined with or without intravenous lignocaine (a local anaesthetic agent being used for its anti-inflammatory properties).​​​​​​​ READ MORE.

Professor Bernhard Riedel
Peter Mac's Director of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, Professor Bernhard Riedel,