On 4 May 2017 a party of 12 from the Geelong group, led by John Lee, visited the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac) at its new premises in Grattan Street, Parkville. We were shown over the premises by a volunteer guide, Cherry, and by Dr Caroline Owen, Research Education Manager, who conducted us through the research block.

Peter Mac occupies the premises known as the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC). It is the largest specialist hospital in Australia comprising around 2,500 staff, including more than 580 laboratory and clinical researchers, focused on providing better treatments, better care and potential cures for cancer. Its ultra-modern design reflects the high priority given to the needs of patients and their families. It has capacity for 96 in-patients and is an integrated facility, meaning it provides treatment for patients, combined with extensive research facilities and teaching / training activities. It hosts around 120 higher degree and post doctoral students.

Both the Royal Melbourne and The Women’s hospitals are physically connected to Peter Mac by gangways above street level, and with the Royal Children’s hospital nearby it forms part of a major health and medical precinct. As well as treating its own patients, Peter Mac provides treatment to cancer patients from each of the other hospitals. Also close at hand are other collaborative organisations including, The University of Melbourne, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), and the Doherty Institute.

The prostate research program at Peter Mac is expanding. In 2016 Peter Mac recruited Professor Gail Risbridger to establish a laboratory (as well as continuing her prostate research at Monash University). She is a noted prostate researcher and will lead the expanding prostate research program, also working with clinical trials. Her colleagues in the prostate area include clinician researchers, urologist Professor Declan Murphy and radiation oncologist Associate Professor Scott Williams, who are both conducting clinical research in prostate cancer.

In August last year, a group visited the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. The presentation on both visits, given at the May group meeting, is available for access here. The earlier report on the Hudson visit is here.

The photographs below show the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Photos: Des Graham