NSW Cancer Research Conference 2023 showcases breakthroughs in cancer research

The NSW Cancer Research Conference 2023 held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on September 18-19 proved a great success, providing a platform for researchers from regional and rural NSW to present their latest findings with colleagues from across the state. The event was hosted by NSW Regional Health Partners, Maridulu Budyari Gumal – SPHERE, and Sydney Health Partners.

The conference featured presentations by experts from the NSW Regional Cancer Research Network established by NSW Regional Health Partners through a Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Capacity Building Grant. Lead of the Network, Professor Nikola Bowden, shared her research on repurposing drugs already in use for other conditions to combat different types of cancer.  This approach is more cost-efficient and faster than developing and trialling new drugs for cancer from scratch. The repurposed cancer drugs that Professor Bowden discussed specifically focused on at this conference were those that combated immunotherapy resistance in cancer treatment.

Dr Alexandra Smith, NSW Regional Cancer Research Network Senior Research Partner based at North West Cancer Service in Tamworth, discussed research conducted locally that sheds light on the relationship between different health conditions and cancer treatment outcomes for older patients. Understanding this connection is crucial for recognising the impact of different health conditions on cancer treatment strategies, so they can be effectively tailored.

Professor Christine Paul, a behavioural scientist at the University of Newcastle, discussed the benefits from integrating behaviour changes into cancer management and care. Her presentation focused on the beneficial impact that increasing physical activity, reducing smoking, and improving nutrition can have on cancer outcomes, and showcased evidence where these have been integrated effectively for improved patient outcomes.

Suzzanna Fettell, a Cancer Care Coordinator working in Port Macquarie, presented her research into how to best support men commencing androgen deprivation therapy for treatment of prostate cancer. Her research highlights how sharing information about the impact of prostate cancer treatment on skeletal and fat mass can motivate men to engage in increased physical activity prior to treatment in order to get the best possible outcome. In her physiotherapy role, Suzzanna has supported the development and delivery of activity programs for men undergoing prostate cancer treatment to optimise their immediate and long-term health.

The NSW Cancer Research Conference 2023 highlighted the importance of innovative approaches and collaborative efforts to transform patient outcomes and improve service delivery through research. NSW Regional Health Partners is proud to support our cancer care clinicians and researchers through the NSW Regional Cancer Research Network who are working hard to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer.