Embedding research as a discipline in MDT-based cancer care

Flagship Leads. Prof Paul Harnett, Dr Lynleigh Evans

The key flagship program of the SWTCRC is to develop the potential of the MDT as a translational research unit across T1-T3 research. This is being achieved through investment in research support and a program of formal redesign of MDTs into sophisticated Tumour Programs.

Recent Publications

Evans L, Donovan B, Liu Y, et al. A tool to improve the performance of multidisciplinary teams in cancer care. BMJ Open Quality 2019; 8: e000435. doi:10.1136/bmjoq-2018-000435

Tumour Program Strengthening Initiative

Leader. Dr Lynleigh Evans

The Sydney West Cancer Network (SWCN) introduced multidisciplinary team meetings for their tumour groups many years ago and they are now universally accepted and attended. There is, however, wide variation in how each functions and is resourced, and the role they play in decision making with respect to management of patients with the particular tumour.

The Tumour Program Strengthening Initiative aims to standardise the approach to management of cancer patients through multidisciplinary teams and to overcome current constraints which are inhibiting optimal performance.

Since 2017 the program has focussed on the development and implementation of a reliable self-assessment tool to engage and support all Tumour Programs in strengthening their performance and monitoring improvement over time.

November 2019

Innovation manager Yiren (Elaine) Liu attended the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium to present a poster from the TPSI Team. Yiren Liu, Terence Kwan, James Callister, Brendan Donovan, Simon Poon, Lynleigh Evans, Paul Harnett. Developing a Performance Matrix for Multidisciplinary Teams. See the poster here.

April 2019

Evans L, Donovan B, Liu Y, et al. A tool to improve the performance of multidisciplinary teams in cancer care. BMJ Open Quality 2019; 8: e000435. doi:10.1136/bmjoq-2018-000435


Research Support

Investment in research support forms an important part of Flagship 1 activities as part of our workforce development strategy and to grow research capacity across our network.

Karin Lyon is the SWTCRC Research Support officer. Karin assists members with Ethics and Governance submissions and acts as secretariat for the Clinical Trials sub-committee. To request assistance please use the contact form.

We offer a 12-month fellowship program aimed at clinicians close to completion of their specialist training and researchers who have recently completed a PhD. It serves as a mechanism for young clinicians to gain 12 months’ experience in laboratory work before committing to PhD studies and as a mechanism for early career researchers to gain postdoctoral experience in the difficult period between completion of a PhD and securing longer term funding. Fellows are required to be affiliated and supported by an MDT.

The 2020 Fellow is Robert Finnegan. Robert recently completed his PhD in medical physics. His research will contribute to a large study aiming to provide precision medicine in radiation therapy with biologically optimised radiation therapy, focussed on improving treatment outcomes by specifically targeting high-risk cancer cells. Using advanced image processing, sophisticated radiomics analysis and artificial intelligence (AI), the project aims to drive positive changes in how cancer patients are treated.

Previous Fellows

2019. Dr Ali Azimi

2018. Dr Jessica Smith

2017. Dr Tram Doan

Full stipend and PhD top-up scholarships are available from the SWTCRC. Supported PhD students must be affiliated and supported by an MDT.

Current Scholarship Holders

Dr Koon Lee. Cellular Therapies in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)

George Joun. Dissecting the cellular and molecular regulation of chemo-resistance in human epithelial carcinoma.

Dr Puja Bhattacharyya. The role of the B cell receptor and tumour microenvironment in protein expressions profiles and interactions in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells.

Past Scholarship Holders

Dr Tania Moujaber. Molecular Pathways in Low Grade Serous Cancer

Dr James Todd.

Funding Opportunities