Since its commencement in September 2018, the MPCCC Precision Oncology Program has established regular Molecular Tumour Board meetings that focus on three distinct tumour streams.

“Our Molecular Tumour Boards have been successful in creating space for discussions about selection of therapies based on genomic tumour profiling, in patients whose cancers are resistant to standard treatments,” said Professor Mark Shackleton, Clinical Director of the MPCCC Precision Oncology Program.

“By examining molecular variations in different tumour streams and utilising clinical data to inform our conclusions, we have gained a better understanding of how precision medicine translates from research into clinical practise,” Professor Shackleton said.

Molecular Tumour Board meetings are held monthly at the Monash Health Translational Precinct, adjacent to Monash Medical Centre, and at Alfred Health, with video conferencing facilities to enable cross-site participation. These boards attract consultants, registrars, research fellows and clinician-researchers from across MPCCC’s partner organisations. Patient data and treatment plans are presented at each meeting and used as a springboard for discussion about the efficacy of certain novel treatments.

MPCCC has also implemented a series of Precision Oncology Seminars, which address subjects including comprehensive genome profiling of cancers and emerging biomarkers including tumour mutation burden (TMB) which can help inform suitability of individual patients to immunotherapy, and cancer treatment on a broader level. In November 2018, Professor Sandip Patel from the University of California and Professor Andrew Perkins from Alfred Health presented the first Precision Oncology Seminar on the topic ‘immunotherapy and genomics innovation advance Illumina’s vision for precision oncology.’

In March 2019, Professor David Thomas from Sydney’s Kinghorne Cancer Centre and Founder of the Australian Cancer Genomics Medicine Program presented on the topic ‘realising the potential of innovative personalised medicine for cancer patients.’

“Precision Oncology Seminars are contributing in a fundamental way to workforce education,” said Ms Vikki Marshall, Program Manager of the Precision Oncology Program.

“We look forward to bringing more internationally acclaimed researchers and clinician speakers to our precinct over the coming months. We believe these seminars encourage our innovative researchers by creating a forum for networking and discussion about precision oncology.”

The next Precision Oncology Seminar is scheduled for 29 August 2019, when Dr Richard Tothill, head of the Rare Disease Oncogenomics laboratory of the University of Melbourne, will present on the topic, ‘cancer of unknown primary (CUP).’