Haematology and Cancer Research

About Haematology and Cancer Research

Monash Haematology provides care to around 1 million Victorians, making it one of the largest haematological services in Australia providing specialisation for complex cases in non-malignant and malignant haematology.

Research projects

Group heads

Professor Eva Segelov

Eva Segelov is Professor and Director of Oncology at Monash University and Monash Health. She has specialist interest in the diagnosis and management of upper and lower gastrointestinal cancers, including neuroendocrine tumours and anal cancer, as well as breast cancer. Professor Segelov has led numerous national and international oncology clinical trials including the ICECREAM, QUASAR2, SCOT and ASCOLT trials.

Professor Stephen Opat

Professor Stephen Opat is Director of Clinical Haematology at Monash Health and Head of Department of Haematology, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University.

Professor Opat’s research aims to improve outcomes for patients with lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and to achieve these ends he has employed a number of strategies.

The Lymphoma and Related Diseases Registry (housed within Monash University’s, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine) enables haematologists across Australia and New Zealand to monitor access to care; benchmark outcomes nationally and internationally; explore variation in practice; and act as a resource for clinical trials.

As Director of the Monash Haematology Clinical Research Unit, Professor Opat has also been principal investigator in over 40 studies in lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.  The Unit is engaged in all aspects of clinical research, from first in human to large international phase III studies.

Another research interest of Professor Opat’s is improving the understanding of lymphoma biology to facilitate the rational application of targeted therapy.

The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance Lymphoma flagship is a collaborative effort to improve outcomes for patients with poor-risk non-Hodgkins lymphoma through gaining an understanding of the genetic lesions involved in the malignant transformation of lymphoid cells.  The project involves genetic sequencing of tumour DNA coding regions to identify genetic variants that may help guide treatment.

A/Prof Jake Shortt

Head of Blood Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory, A/Prof Jake Shortt is the recipient of a Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) clinical research fellowship and both NHMRC and CCV project grant funding. Dr Shortt was the inaugural recipient of the "Eva & Les Erdi" Snowdome Foundation/VCA grant for "new targets in haematological malignancy".  His strong translational work as part of the Department of Medicine at the School of Clinical Sciences and in conjunction with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is focused on strategies incorporating epigenetic drugs with immunotherapy in haematological cancers.

A/Prof Arun Azad

Translational researcher and medical oncologist A/Prof Arun Azad focuses on urological cancers.  In collaboration with Professor Gail Risbridger, his pre-clinical research uses novel patient-derived xenograft models to characterise the effects of taxane cytotoxics in castration-sensitive prostate cancer. Dr Azad's clinical research focuses on circulating biomarkers including cell-free DNA and microRNA in patients with urological cancers together with the delivery of precision medicine for prostate cancer patients using genomic profiling of blood and tissue to offer personalised treatments.

Dr George Grigoriadis

Dr George Grigoriadis is a consultant haematologist at Monash Health and Alfred Health and Senior Lecturer in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health. He is a recent recipient of a Victorian Cancer Agency Clinical Research Fellowship on the evolution of myelodysplasia.

About our research

Monash Haematology is a lead international site for expertise and clinical trial activity in lymphoid cancer and chronic myeloid disorders lead by Associate Prof Stephen Opat. Recent highlights include a lead role in GCLLSG CLL11, presented in the ASH plenary with authorship in the NEJM (2014; 370: 1101-10); the results of this trial represent a paradigm shift in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. New approaches to treatment of primary CNS-lymphoma have translated to excellent patient outcomes as recently published in Neuro Oncol (2013; 15: 1068-73) and Br J Cancer (2014, epub). Monash has one of the largest public chronic myeloid leukaemia clinics (CML) in Australia, and has been a lead recruiter to international Phase III CML and myelodysplasia studies.

Monash Health has the second largest paediatric leukaemia service and is a member of the US-based Childrens Oncology Group.

Monash Health is also a centre of excellence for the management of pregnancy-associated venous thrombotic disorders a relatively rare condition but a leading cause of maternal mortality in a developed country like Australia. Research in this area has been further promulgated by Monash's lead clinician in this area assisting with the development of Australasian guidelines (Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2012; 52:14-22 and 3-13). Perhaps the largest impact has been in the clinical development of novel antithrombotic drugs, where Monash was consistently the top Australasian recruiter in Phase III studies, six of which were published in the NEJM.

The Thalassaemia Unit at Monash Health contains the Victorian Haemoglobinopathy reference laboratory and provides a comprehensive integrated whole person and whole of life care. It has been at the forefront of developing national guidelines for the management of thalassaemia major, sickle cell disease and other congenital anaemias. The services active clinical trials programme has participated in large multinational Phase III trials of oral chelation therapy (EPIC trial) which have now become standard of. The unit is planning to participate in a ‘first in man' study of a hepcidin agonist. The group is also conducting an investigator-initiated study of ultrarapid (60 second) parenteral iron carboxymaltose infusion, which has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia, the most common haematologic illness worldwide.

Opportunities

If you are thinking of a career in haematology and cancer research the School of Clinical Sciences is a great place to start. We are located at Monash Medical Centre (MMC) Clayton within easy walking distance of both Monash University Clayton Campus and the Clayton Shopping District.

Find out more about current postgraduate opportunities (Honours, Masters, PhD) with the Haematology and Cancer Research Group.