What we do

Our Impact

10 Participating Institutions

10 Participating Institutions

3 Local Health Districts

3 Local Health Districts

350 Members

350+ Members

15M Leveraged Funding

$15M+ Leveraged Funding

400 Publications

400+ Publications

1M Innovation Funding Awarded

$1M+ Innovation Funding Awarded

X 2 Translational Apps Developed

X 2 Translational Apps Developed

Our Strategy

CONCERT has strengthened the extent of its collaborations and connectivity with its cancer experts (health professionals, researchers, consumers and participating institutions) by working together to create the CONCERT Strategy Plan – Scheme 2019-2021.

Our Flagships

CONCERT has organised its research into the following Flagship Programs:

Targets & Therapeutics (T1/T2)

Aimed at determining what is different about individual’s cancer and targeting treatment to those differences.

Group Leader: Professor Marie Ranson

Located in the Illawarra Health and Medical Institute, the key focus of the Cancer Biomarkers & Therapeutics laboratory is to better understand the biological processes that contribute to the invasion and spread of cancer around the body, a process known as metastasis, which is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

The team have made significant progress towards identifying the role of a tissue-degrading system integral to cancer metastasis with multiple publications.

The Cancer Biomarkers & Therapeutics laboratory’s current research includes:

  • Utilising a naturally occurring inhibitor of uPA (an enzyme which increases chances of metastasis) called PAI-2 to slow down the metastatic process.
  • Repurposing the old drug amiloride into a potent dual-targeting inhibitor of two well established  cancer biomarkers including uPA.
  • Utilising patient tumours for mutational and expression analyses of biomarkers of metastasis and actionable therapeutic targets in skin cancer.
  • Patient-derived cultures and xenografts have been established from fresh tumours and isolated circulating tumour cells (CTC), as models for targeted genetic manipulation and drug responsiveness studies.

The Cancer Biomarkers & Therapeutics laboratory also contributes to on-going collaborations investigating the role of the uPA system in protein misfolding diseases such as pregnancy preeclampsia and in streptococcal pathogenesis.

Group Leader: A/Professor Therese Becker

The Centre for Circulating Tumor Cell Diagnostics & Research (CCDR) was founded in April 2013 as part of a CONCERT initiative.

The CCDR is dedicated to research on blood-based cancer biomarkers.

Its vision is:

  • to aid personalised cancer therapy by enabling the detection of actionable cancer biomarkers from blood samples.
  • to establish blood-based techniques to monitor cancer therapy response.
  • to help tailor cancer treatment using non-invasive economical techniques.

For more information, please click here.

Group Leader: A/Professor Kevin Spring

The Clinical & Translational Informatics System (CTIS) is a purpose-built data management system that supports multi-site collaboration, data collection and data quality assurance. It is linked to a simple data enquiry tool for immediate reports and results. CTIS has the flexibility, security and data access control to support investigator-driven clinical trials and translational research activities within a unified secure platform across the CONCERT network.

It provides CONCERT researchers with an effective and efficient fit-for-purpose platform for collecting, organising, maintaining, integrating, searching and sharing data while protecting the security and privacy of ethics-approved research projects, patient data and biospecimens.

Group Leader: Professor C. Soon Lee

The CONCERT Biobank, a core program of CONCERT, was established as an open-access, multiple collection site and infrastructure tool accessible to all cancer researchers in NSW.

The CONCERT Biobank is a NSW Health Pathology certified biobank with a generalist cancer approach: collecting biospecimens from all types of cancer. The biospecimens collected not only include formalin-fixed paraffin embedded sections (as routinely collected by most NSW Biobanks) but also fresh tumour and normal adjacent tissue, as well as blood, cerebrospinal fluid and other relevant bodily fluids.

CONCERT Biobank aims to provide NSW cancer researchers with access to high-quality, representative biospecimens and associated epidemiological, clinical and quality-of-life data in order to facilitate research into understanding the factors that influence early-detection, prevention and treatment of cancer.

The key objectives of the CONCERT Biobank are to:

  • Collect and disseminate high-quality biospecimens and information for cancer research.
  • Increase research capacity by providing research support services.
  • Developing strategies and education initiatives to enhance both health professional and public support of biobanks.

For more information, please click here.

Group Leader: Professor Michael Barton

The Australian MRI-Linac program at Liverpool Hospital has built a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) device combined with a Linear Accelerator (Linac) which is used to deliver radiation therapy directly to a patient’s cancer in real-time.

The MRI imaging device allows real-time visualisation of the ‘moving cancer’ due to breathing and other normal movements and coupled with the treatment beam (Linac), precisely and accurately delivers the radiation therapy directly to the cancer while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue.

This program is one of only four similar projects in the world, and the only one existing in the southern hemisphere and is proudly supported by CONCERT.

Policy & Practice (T2/T3)

Aimed at rapidly translating research evidence into policy and practice and ensuring equitable access to evidence-based care for all people affected by cancer.

Group Leader: Dr Wei Chua

The Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at SWSLHD is actively engaged in scientific research to improve the survival and quality of life for patients with cancer.

Their overall aim is to improve the survival and quality of life for patients with cancer. This includes improving cancer care and providing access for the patients of SWSLHD to newly-developed treatment modalities.

To achieve their aim, the Clinical Trials unit has the following objectives:

  • To provide administrative support to facilitate subject screening, consent, registration, study-specific tests and treatments, response and toxicity assessment, and data entry
  • To provide regulatory support to ensure compliance with Good Clinical Practices, Human Research Ethic Committee, Therapeutic Goods Administration and other regulatory agencies.
  • To monitor overall accrual of subjects on therapeutic and non-therapeutic cancer-related clinical trials

Group Leader: Professor Michael Barton

The Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CCORE), established in 1999, is affiliated with the Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Hospital and the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research. The Liverpool Hospital Cancer Therapy Centre is a tertiary referral centre for the treatment of cancer patients in South West Sydney.

CCORE aims to improve cancer outcomes through research and the implementation of best practice measures into the routine clinical practice of cancer treatment. CCORE has expertise in radiotherapy but also has broad interests in all areas of cancer management. Staff members include radiation oncologists, a medical oncologist, epidemiologist, data managers and project officers.

CCORE has a wide range of activities that extend from the individual cancer patient to the organisation of cancer services at state, national and international levels. Their research covers the broad spectrum of clinical cancer including surgery, medical and radiation oncolog. and is achieving these aims through the following strategies:

  • establishment, implementation and evaluation of best practice guidelines and evidence summaries;
  • exploration of methods by which best practice guidelines may be implemented locally;
  • cancer clinical outcomes research;
  • refining of clinical research methodologies including quality of life, economic and qualitative programs; and
  • establishment of partnerships and linkages between clinicians, universities and other clinical research groups locally and internationally.

For more information, please click here.

Group Leader: Professor Afaf Girgis

The Psycho-Oncology Research Group investigates the psychological, social and behavioural aspects of cancer, from the time of diagnosis until end of life. Its research program is translational in focus, with priority research areas informed by the challenges faced by those providing and receiving cancer care.

The group applies the most stringent research methods to develop a strong evidence base to inform best practice and engages early with key stakeholders and policy-makers to maximise evidence-informed cancer care.

Their research addresses some of the major psychosocial dimensions of cancer, including:

  • Understanding the unmet needs and responses of patients, their families and caregivers to cancer at all stages of the disease.
  • Determining the influence of the content and process of communication between the health care team and the patient and family on coping, treatment compliance and psychosocial outcomes.
  • Identifying the psychological, behavioural and social factors which may influence the disease process, including the impact of cultural, language and socioeconomic differences.
  • Developing and testing strategies that can be implemented within health services to minimise the negative impact of cancer.

Membership is free and is available for those employed/enrolled at one of our participating institutions and based at SWSLHD, ISLHD or ACT.