Hunter Trial Units Success

Congratulations to the Hunter New England Cancer Clinical Research Network (CCRN) who was named the winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Outstanding Clinical Trials Unit in late November.

The CCRN was recognised for its tenacious efforts to connect people to important, life-changing cancer trials and rewarded for its high level of enrolments in clinical trials.

The Network was established to support a portfolio of cancer clinical trials across the region – giving all residents access to the best possible treatment and care.

First formed in 2007 under an initiative funded by the Cancer Institute NSW and spearheaded by staff at Calvary Mater Newcastle, it now comprises eight clinical trials units in specialised fields and key locations. Within the CCRN, Calvary Mater Newcastle has three key clinical trial units, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and Haematology, and is the main centre for cancer clinical trials in the Hunter region.

Dr James Lynam, Calvary Mater Newcastle Medical Oncology Staff Specialist and Network Chairperson, said,

“Research showed that patients on clinical trials did better than those not on trials, and the job of the network was to recruit as many people as possible.”

He continues, “The CCRN is a meeting of minds to try and address various challenges that we face locally, and to try and improve how we manage clinical trials, and get people onto clinical trials.”

In 2019 to 2020, the Network robustly recruited to investigator-initiated cancer treatment trials, positioning itself as the leader of enrolments.

The Network had 119 participants enrolled to investigator-initiated trials of novel drugs in medical oncology and haematology as well as radiation oncology and surgery. In addition, many units engaged in phase I trials, dramatically impacting local participants who no longer need to travel long distances for these specialised trials.

Thanks to the hard work of staff across the Hunter New England region, this unique collaboration is positioning itself as a leader in trial recruitment and enrolment.

James concludes,

“None of these achievements could have taken place without our patients – they agree to participate in our research and continually inspire us in our work. We couldn’t do it without them.”