Home | About ASSG | Sarcoma Help | Sarcoma Research | Support Sarcoma Research | Events & News | Links | Contact ASSG

Happy Holidays!

Welcome to the December 2015 edition of the Sarcoma Australia E-News from the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group (ASSG). We wish you all peace and joy in the New Year! 

The ASSG has had a very eventful year! We are very proud of our achievements and the progress that has been made for the Australasian Sarcoma Community. We are fortunate to receive wonderful support from sarcoma community in order to conduct important sarcoma research.

Firstly, the ASSG has undergone a strategic development plan which includes a governance restructure. The ASSG has now separated out the governance and scientific roles and have created a Scientific Advisory Committee which is Chaired by Dr Jayesh Desai, who has served as Chair of the Board of the ASSG for the last four years.  

We welcome Mr Adrian Cosenza to the position of Chairman of the Board and thank him for his commitment to the ASSG.


ASSG Governance Restructure and Message from the ASSG Chair

ASSG Achievements - Message from the Executive Office

Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane

Consumer Perspective Article

2016 Sarcoma Research Grant Winners

2016 ASM - Save the date

Message from the ASSG Chair - Mr Adrian Cosenza
The achievements of the sarcoma community through the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group (ASSG) and the Australian Sarcoma Group (ASG) since establishment in 2007 are remarkable. Promoting collaboration through and between all stakeholders to reduce personal and community impact of sarcoma is a most worthy never-ending ambition. I would like to acknowledge the pioneering leadership of Associate Professor David Thomas and Dr. Jayesh Desai both of whom served as Chairman of ASSG since 2007. 

It is with a great degree of humility and the highest admiration for this special group of passionate clinicians, health professionals, researchers, patients and their families that I look forward to serving you and the community as the new Chairman of ASSG. I will endeavour to listen, learn and improve my understanding of the many challenges and exciting research possibilities to best place ASSG as an even more effective clinical research cooperative group. 

The ASSG board has shown deft and remarkable forward looking perspectives in seeking to improve and establish contemporary governance for ASSG. All organisations regardless of sector whether from for profit or not for profit, benefit from prudent, considered and well planned governance. Following a two year governance review, at the October 2015 meeting, the composition of the new Board (details on website) was finalised.  I would like to pass on my personal congratulations to each board member and I look forward to working with the new Board. In addition the composition of the Scientific Advisory Committee was also finalised and members appointed (details on website). Congratulations to all those involved. 

I very much enjoyed meeting with some members of the community at the ASSG research meeting on Friday 16 October 2015 in Brisbane. I hope to be able to meet many more in coming months. 

I look forward to sharing practices and protocols that can best place ASSG to achieve its goals and objectives.
ASSG Achievements - Message from the Executive Officer
As this whirlwind year draws to close, I look back at the remarkable achievements of the ASSG.  Firstly, the governance restructure and the formal establishment of the Scientific Advisory Committee is a new model of working for the ASSG as it matures as an organization. This reflects the broad range of activities that the ASSG undertakes while continuing to focus our resources and energies on sarcoma research in Australia and the region.

Priorities for the ASSG have included increasing research opportunities for the Adolescent and Young Adult community.  2015 was the year when the ASSG opened two studies that focus on this group of underserved patients.  The EuroEwings 08 study has been opened at several sites around Australia (and soon New Zealand) that is generously supported by the Rainbows for Kate Foundation.  This study is open at both adult and paediatric sites in order to capture all eligible Ewing Sarcoma patients.  This has been a landmark achievement to work across both sectors.  The second study is International Sarcoma Kindred Study-AYA that has been opened just for patients from 15-25 years of age.  This study is co-funded by the ASSG and CanTeen over the next two years.

Another milestone for the ASSG is to become a co-funder of the Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme for the 2016 round.  We are delighted to be able to leverage funds from Cancer Australia and other co funders involved in this scheme to offer and substantive and high quality sarcoma research project grant.  Since the beginning the ASSG has pledged 100% of donations will support sarcoma research conduct.  The ASSG is pleased to be able to be involved in this funding scheme to best utilize these generous donations.

Finally, I personally would like to thank everyone that supports the ASSG and has contributed to our recent successes.  And a very special thanks to Dr Jayesh Desai who has served as the Chair for over four years and has now taken up the inaugural Chair of the SAC. 

Dr Denise Caruso
Annual Scientific Meeting- Brisbane October 2015

D. Thomas, M Phillips, W Tap, J Desai, G McKinnon, D Kirsch, P Crowe, D Pryor (in back)

The Annual Scientific Meeting held in Brisbane in October was a great success. The scientific programme was broad and engaging.  Presentations were impressive with high level science and important discussions amongst sarcoma experts from varied disciplines. A special thanks goes to the Organizing Committee headed by the local Brisbane convenors Scott Sommerville, David Pryor and Warren Joubert.  Again the ASSG and ASG were honoured to host top level international experts: David Kirsch from Duke University (North Carolina), Bill Tap from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (NY) and Shekhar Kumta from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 
Consumer Perspective Article 
Speaking at the 2015 ASSG Annual Scientific Meeting was a difficult but very rewarding experience and I’m grateful for having the opportunity to share with you my journey through Ewing’s Sarcoma. I am so fortunate to be a success story, and to now live a normal life after facing such a serious illness at 14 years of age.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your contributions in the fight against this deadly childhood disease. In particular, my oncologist Dr. Tim Hassall, my surgeon Dr. Peter Steadman, and the wonderful nurses at the former Royal Children’s Hospital Banksia ward in Brisbane, and of course my family, without your help it’s scary to think that I wouldn’t be here. I will honestly never be able to thank you enough for your kind hearted care through the hellish year of 2007 and for undeniably saving my life.  

It was truly amazing to be involved with this year’s ASSG conference. To see first-hand the incredible developments, research and studies that have gone into better treating Sarcoma, and to listen to guest speakers from abroad was fascinating to be involved with.  As I mentioned in my speech, it has taken me years to completely accept what I went through. The diagnosis, chemotherapy and surgery will forever haunt my dreams, but I feel like I’ve finally become strong enough to speak openly about cancer.  Sarcoma gave me a new lease on life and because of people like you, I was cured, I am alive! Even though bone cancer is quite rare in comparison to other cancers, it’s the second most common cause of death in children, teenagers and young adults in Australia. People often see the scars on my hip and legs and ask me… “Gosh, what happened to you?” I’d tell them I had Sarcoma cancer... In response they’d say that they’ve never heard of it before. This is something I’d like to change. I want everyone to learn that young people are diagnosed with Sarcoma cancer, and many of them do survive, so let’s create awareness in order to cure Sarcoma cancer for good!

Amy Levings 
Sarcoma Research Grant Winners
Every year the ASSG awards sarcoma research grants. The ASSG is grateful to our generous supporters that allow these grants to be used for important sarcoma research.  The Grant Review Panel met to review the submissions.  This year we received very high quality submissions and are pleased to announce the following winners.

The Johanna Sewell Memorial Sarcoma Research Grant $50,000 for one year
  • Dr Jeremy Henson UNSW for his grant “New drug combination with ATR-CHK1 axis inhibitors for osteosarcoma”

The GPA Andrew Ursini Grant $75,000 over three years
  • Dr Christine Hawkins La Trobe University for her grant “Testing the efficacy and safety of SM-164 for osteosarcoma treatment”

The Tom Wood Sarcoma Research Grant $23,000 for one year
  • Prof David Ashley Deakin University for his grant “Identifying the role of altered mitochondrial metabolism in malignant rhabdoid tumours and evaluating potential epigenetic therapies”

The Xavier Krikori Sarcoma Research Grant $20,000 for one year
  • Dr Timothy Chittleborough Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for his grant “Profiling desmoid tumours in FAP patients and exploring new strategies to prevent and treat desmoid tumours using a novel mouse model”

The Leon Stone Sarcoma Research Grant
  • Dr Kenneth Hsu Kid’s Research Institute at Westmeade for his grant “Developing genetically modified T cells for the treatment of paediatric tumours”

Congratulations to all and we look forward to hearing about the progress of these projects.
2016 ASM - Save the date
The 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting will be held October 15 and 16th in Sydney at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre.  Professor David Thomas is the local convenor and no doubt will deliver an impressive and interesting scientific programme.  Mark your calendars!

   December 2015

Research Brief
PVNS: An international clinical trial exploring the effect of nilotinib as a treatment for patients with pigmented villo-nodular synovitis / tenosynovial giant cell tumour
read more
CASPS: An international clinical trial assessing cediranib treatment in patients with metastatic alveolar soft part sarcoma
read more
LDE225: A clinical trial on LDE225 in the treatment of patients with metastatic or unresectable sarcoma CLOSED to Recruitment
read more

AYAPK: A clinical trial characterising the activity of Doxorubicin in tumour types with worse prognoses for specific gender and age populations
 CLOSED to Recruitment
read more
SMOC: A pilot study to determine whether whole body MRI is a useful screening toolfor high risk patients and their family members.
ISKS: International Sarcoma Kindred Study is a population based project investigating the familial aspects of sarcoma. 
EuroEwings/RFK: International Phase 3 trial for patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic Ewings sarcoma.
Next Edition

July 2016

Newsletter of the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Locked Bag 1, A’Beckett Street Melbourne 8006
T 613 9656 3605F 613 9656 5875E sarcoma@petermac.orgW www.australiansarcomagroup.org