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, President’s Message, TROG Cancer Research

A/Prof Purnima Sundaresan


It is with a deep sense of honour and responsibility that I stepped into the role of President of TROG Cancer Research and Chair of the Board of Directors in March 2024. It is a privilege to serve TROG and its vision to improve the outcomes of people affected by cancer through innovative research in radiation medicine. 

TROG Cancer Research was founded in 1989 when radiation oncologists from seven radiation therapy centres across Australia and New Zealand came together with the joint vision to improve the outcomes of patients treated with radiation therapy. TROG was one of the first cancer clinical trials groups in Australia then, and today, it is one of the largest of the 14 Cancer Collaborative Trials Groups supported by the Federal Government through Cancer Australia to undertake clinical trials development activities.  It is also the only clinical trials group in Australia and New Zealand dedicated to the generation of evidence relating to radiation therapy and radiation medicine. Over the past 35 years, TROG has built a reputation for developing and conducting high quality, practice changing clinical trials and is well known and respected internationally. Working with over 70 cancer treatment centres in Australia and New Zealand, TROG has successfully conducted over 115 clinical trials and we are very grateful for the > 15,000 patients who have participated in these trials.

We have revisited TROG’s vision and mission and clarified our values while we developed TROG’s 2024 -2026 strategic plan and have aligned it with the objectives of the Australian Cancer Plan to enhance our capacity to contribute to the broader National goals of improving cancer treatment and patient outcomes. As we embark on the journey of delivering this plan over the next 3 years, I am reminded of the profound impact that our work has on the millions of individuals affected by cancer. TROG’s mission to revolutionize cancer care through groundbreaking research in radiation medicine is not just a lofty goal; it is a moral imperative. One in every 2 individuals affected by cancer will benefit from radiation therapy at some point in their cancer journey, whether to attain cure of their cancer or to be relieved of their symptoms and thereby improve their quality of life. We, in the radiation oncology and wider radiation medicine community, are tasked with the responsibility for the ongoing generation of evidence that underpin the use of radiation therapy and new technologies in radiation medicine. Our research directions must respond to changes in other cancer treatment approaches and embrace novel clinical trial designs in conducting our research. We are also being called to improve our patients’ access to clinical trial participation and address their priorities in the research questions we ask.  Our multidisciplinary member community at TROG is perfectly placed to continue rising to this “call to action” and generate the evidence required to guide optimal treatment decisions at an individual patient level as well as to advocate for and influence policy towards high quality and high value care at the population level. 

I am deeply committed to fostering a culture of collaboration and partnership across our membership, patients, and the community across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, and to embrace diversity in our research and our people. Only by bringing together the brightest minds from diverse backgrounds and disciplines within radiation medicine and beyond, and by working collaboratively with other similarly aligned organisations Nationally and globally, can we harness the full potential of the collective intelligence that exists in our community and drive truly transformative change in cancer care.

I look forward to the exciting journey that lies ahead and look forward to working with you all!

A/Prof Purnima Sundaresan