• Category Marryalyan
  • DATE 27 Jun 2024


June 2024

Blog Details Image

MOGA plays a key role in the Australian medical, and oncology profession, as the national professional organisation for the medical oncology, and Special Society of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).  This report outlines some highlights of our upcoming activities in the second half of 2024.

MOGA Workforce

The Medical Oncology Workforce is a priority and is core to our business and, mission. MOGA continues to work closely with collegiate organisation in Australia, SE Asia, Europe, and North America on key Workforce initiatives such as the international curriculum, global training requirements as well as long-term workforce planning and modelling as part of the National Cancer Plan, in collaboration with Cancer Australia. 

Dr Jenny Liu, Lead, National Mentorship Program and Dr Anna Mislang who has spearheaded Wellness activities, have joined with several young oncologists, and MOGA’s Workforce Taskforce, led by A/Prof James Lynam to develop a collaborative all of profession approach.

The group have published a MOGA Position Statement on Burnout (Lead-Dr Gowri Shivasabesan, National Trainee representative). Rising service demands and a rapidly evolving clinical landscape have resulted in an increasing number of medical oncologists and trainees in Australia experiencing burnout. To ensure the well-being of our members and colleagues, as well as the sustainability of our workforce, over the coming months we will be raising awareness and developing practical interventions that address clinician burnout which are critical to the sustainability of the workforce and our members’ welfare. Solutions must be tailored to the diverse members we have and address big-picture workforce issues such as increasing workload, administrative burden, job security, and welfare needs. Work will also continue with other projects in conjunction with the Learned Colleges on curriculum renewal, evolving training priorities and the very complex workforce challenges that face all Australian specialists including surgery, pathology, haematology, and many other specialities. 

MOGA Advocacy

MOGA will be pursuing a new initiative for a federally funded Interim Cancer Fund (ICF). The ICF seeks to address the lag time from Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval to lifesaving drugs being approved for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) reimbursement; this evidence-based access scheme would deem medicines eligible for interim funding while further economic data is collected, to allow patients and clinicians access to cancer medicines that may save or significantly extend life.

MOGA’s view is that the delay in PBS listing has a significant effect on patients and this needs to be addressed as part of a wider complex, innovative national policy to ensure Australian oncologists and their patients get access to high quality medicines as quickly as possible; and, the long-term viability of anti-cancer drug reimbursement nationally into the future.

In late March Medicines Australia second Medicine of Tomorrow: Horizon Scanning Forum, sought to engage policymakers and stakeholders on upcoming and disruptive therapeutic advances that may enter Australia’s regulatory and/or reimbursement systems over the next 2-7 years. Industry see emerging technologies as key to a nimble and adaptive health system and highlighted technologies that will have significant impact on Australian patients.

From an Oncology perspective, Cellular Therapies was the most relevant and while already available, logistical, and funding challenges hamper its applicability within Australia.  As CAR-T is rolled out to more indications, the ongoing capability of Australia’s CAR-T program and, other funding models will need to be addressed.

MOGA believes that in the future real improvement in patient outcomes could be achieved by government and regulatory decision makers being aware of emerging “game changers” well before they have been scientifically validated.  Eg., routine use of blood borne biomarkers to guide treatment, CAR-T and bi-specifics in solid oncology and the management of infusion reactions.

MOGA Educational Initiatives

From 14-16 August our members will gather at the Sydney Convention Centre for our Annual Scientific Meeting, Caring for Tomorrow: Bridges in Cancer Care Technology and Innovation being Co Convened by A/Prof Connie Diakos and Dr Adrian Lee.  The program will feature innovative work in areas including artificial intelligence (AI), solid and liquid precision medicine, radiomics and novel drug development. Whilst delving into the latest breakthroughs in cancer treatment and research, the meeting will offer attendees diverse opportunities for networking and collaboration, specially developed to meet the need of members at different career stages-trainee, young oncologist, and consultant. The high-profile international speakers are:

Prof Vivian Strong, Vice Chair, Department of Surgery, and Iris Cantor Endowed Chair, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Prof of Surgery and Ass/Dean, Weill Medical College, Cornell University. Vivian focuses on clinical, molecular and translational research in gastric cancer, adrenal tumours and the application of minimally invasive approaches.

Prof Alexander T. Pearson, Director, Data Sciences and Head/Neck Cancer for Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago. He is an expert in head and neck cancer treatment, runs multiple clinical trials in this field and is a member of multiple international research consortia for AI and mathematical oncology.

Prof Bob T. Li, an Australian medical oncologist and physician-scientist at MSKCC, and Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University, specializes in novel drug development for lung cancers and solid tumours. Bob is Chief Scientific Officer, MSK Direct, responsible for scientific innovation in digital outreach strategy and Co-Director of the Thoracic Liquid Biopsy Program. He helped launch the Bloomberg New Economy International Cancer Coalition, and his work on patient-centric international clinical trials is frequently featured on Forbes.com

Under the leadership of Prof Chris Karapetis, plans are coming together for the first face to face Australia & Asia-Pacific Clinical Oncology Research Development (ACORD) Workshop in over 5 years from 22 - 27 September. 2024 will be our ninth biennial 1-week Workshop. 64 junior oncology specialists from SE Asia Pakistan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia will join 32 local and international Faculty. We are grateful for the continuing support of our major collaborating partners American Society for Clinical Oncology and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) through the participation 4 North American Faculty, including Biostatistician and Trials Expert, Dr Gary Clark, and current AACR President, Prof Pat M. Lo Russo, Yale University.

A/Prof Melissa Eastgate
MOGA Chair

Ms Flavia Portela
MOGA General Manager