This year marks the 25th year of the AGITG conducting and promoting clinical and related biological research to improve health outcomes for patients with GI cancers. Over the past 25 years, through the tireless efforts of the AGITG membership, we have been instrumental in achieving significant changes in medical practice not only in Australia but worldwide.
The 48 clinical trials conducted by the AGITG since the group was first formed as a network of investigators in 1991 have involved over 4,000 patients treated at 90 sites in Australia, eight sites in New Zealand and 47 sites located across Asia, Europe and North America.
AGITG research has improved the life expectancy, treatment and quality of life for patients with gastro-intestinal cancers.
We have published 85 journal articles as a result of clinical trials and the group has made 161 presentations of study findings at national and international conferences.
The AGITG has played an important part in intergroup research which has changed international treatment practice for colorectal, GIST and oesophageal cancer patients. This research contributed to the identification of genetic mutations in colorectal cancer (NCIC-CTG CO.17), provided access to new drugs to determine an improved treatment regimen for GIST (EORTC 62005 and EORTC 62024) and added chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery for oesophageal cancer (AGITG meta-analysis).
The past 25 years of AGITG activities has impacted our community in a number of noteworthy ways. The work of the AGITG has enabled patients throughout Australia and New Zealand, in regional, rural and city based medical centres to access clinical trials, new personalised treatment options, unfunded cancer treatments and state of the art cancer treatments 3- 5 years earlier than if the research were to be conducted overseas. In the Australasian medical community the AGITG has made significant contributions through the mentoring of oncologists in clinical research, the development of international research links and conducting outstanding academic research.
During 2016 we will reflect upon our 25 year history and you can look forward to an exciting “25th year party” at our 18th Annual Scientific Meeting in September, celebrating excellence and innovation in GI cancer research.