I attended the ACORD workshop in 2008 during my time as a medical oncology trainee at the Sydney Cancer Center.  At that time, I had limited experience into the process of clinical trial development, and found the workshop to be an incredible resource for me to learn from a wide range of experts from various backgrounds.  I still think back to some of the principles I was taught at the ACORD workshop during my research practice today.  My trial concept at the workshop outlined a study examining the role of a panel of blood and genetic biomarkers as possible predictors of trastuzumab-related cardiotoxicity.  The idea stemmed from a journal club presentation in my department, and was relatively immature when I started the workshop.  I was thrilled to leave the workshop with a complete protocol, undoubtedly enhanced by the input from my mentors.  Following the workshop, we submitted the trial concept to the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia who awarded us a $200,000 grant to complete the study.  I am pleased to report that our study has now closed to accrual after enrolling approximately 220 patients at various hospitals across Australia.  One example of the mentorship I received at the workshop is my ongoing relationship with Prof Gary Clark, my statistics mentor at the workshop.  He kindly offered to maintain an ongoing role in the study and is now listed as our study statistician.  I am currently living in Boston and have ongoing contact with Prof Clark who is based in Colorado, and I look forward to working with him further as our patient follow-up data matures and we are ready to embark upon statistical analyses.

Dr Shom Goel
Translational Breast Oncology Fellow
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA USA

I completed the ACORD workshop in 2004. Although the project I developed at the workshop (A phase II study of yttrium-90 radio-labeled anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody ibritumomab tiuxetan (ZevalinR) in non-myeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation for relapsed / refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) was unable to obtain funding, the skills learnt at ACORD have enabled me to continue to develop other clinical studies / projects. To date I have written, obtained funding and completed 1 investigator initiated study (A phase II study of desferasirox (Exjade) in preventing iatrogenic iron overload in patients undertaking chemotherapy for acute leukaemia), and co-authored 3 ongoing fully funded and approved local clinical studies in transplantation including  "A phase I / II study of humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody Tocilizumab (TCZ) to prevent development of acute graft versus host disease (GVHD) post HLA-matched allogeneic haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation (HPCT)",  "A phase I / II study of pegylated-Interferon-2alpha for relapsed haematological malignancy after allogeneic haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation (HPCT)" and "Substitution of alemtuzumab for ATGAM as part of combination therapy including etanercept, tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil for steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease (SR-GVHD) post haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation (HPCT)". I have also co-authored other clinical projects which have attracted significant local grant funding (A randomized comparison of total parenteral nutrition and enteral feeding as nutritional support during allogeneic haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation) and am currently writing 2 other prospective clinical projects involving use of anti-mould prophylaxis in adult acute lymphoblastic leukaemia patients and investigating the benefits of early palliative care intervention in haematology patients with potentially terminal conditions. All of these studies are a direct result of skills learnt at ACORD - I would strongly encourage graduates and participants not be disheartened if their ACORD project does not attract funding (as mine did not) but to use their new-found skills to continue to explore and develop other clinical trial ideas.

A/Prof Glen Kennedy
Deputy Director,
Department of Haematology
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
Phone: 61-7-3646-1340
Fax: 61-7-3252-2746