News in brief: Negative results for anti-PD-L1 treatment in epithelial ovarian cancer; New role for Prof Sanchia Aranda; Doctors in isolation due to schools COVID-19 cases

5 Aug 2021

Negative results for anti-PD-L1 treatment in epithelial ovarian cancer

Results from the phase 3 JAVELIN Ovarian 100 trial do not support the use of the anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody avelumab in the frontline treatment setting, study investigators say.

The study enrolled 998 treatment-naïve women from 25 centres with stage III–IV epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer to receive either avelumab in combination with chemotherapy followed by avelumab maintenance, chemotherapy followed by avelumab maintenance, or control (usual care).

The median progression-free survival was 16·8 months with avelumab maintenance, 18·1 months with avelumab combination treatment, and not estimable (18·2 months– not estimable) in the control group.

“Alternative treatment regimens are needed to improve outcomes in patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer,” the study investigators concluded in Lancet Oncology.

New role for Prof Sanchia Aranda

Professor Sanchia Aranda, has been appointed Deputy Chair of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Alliance.

Her new role in the alliance of 10 major hospitals and research institutions working together to overcome cancer was described  as “a coup for collaboration” by Professor Grant McArthur, Executive Director of the VCCC Alliance

‘Sanchia’s appointment is terrific news for the alliance and the wider cancer community in Victoria and beyond. She has an exemplary track record of fostering and applying collaborative leadership at an international level and a deep interest in improving equity in cancer care.

Professor Aranda was previously CEO of Cancer Council Australia and spent two years as President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). She currently also holds a part-time appointment as a Professor of Health Services Research at The University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Professor Aranda take over from outgoing Deputy Chair, Professor Bob Thomas,

Doctors in isolation due to schools COVID-19 cases

Hundreds of healthcare staff in Queensland including many senior doctors are being forced into isolation and unable to work because they are close contacts of their children attending schools affected by a COVID-19 cluster.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said there were 400 Queensland Health employees now in isolation, including all cardiac surgeons at Queensland’s Children Hospital.

“Several senior doctors have confirmed the schools’ outbreak had potentially put about 50 per cent of surgeons in Brisbane into isolation as their children were attending schools associated with the COVID-19 cluster,” an ABC report said

Many of the healthcare staff are reported to have children among the 6,685 students at elite schools shut down as part of the so-called “Indooroopilly cluster” which includes Brisbane Grammar and Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

The isolation of healthcare staff and closure of hospital departments has forced patients to be diverted from Brisbane to Gold Coast hospitals.

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