Dialog Box


Now in its fourth year, CanForum attracts attendees from the pharmaceutical, health, corporate, education and government sectors, other patient and advocacy groups, along with patients and their families.

RCA is proud to announce the CanForum 2018 event program:

8:15am - 8:50am


The Theatre Foyer.

9:00am - 9:10am

Opening Introductions

Dr. Norman Swan FRCP, DCH, MD (Hon Causa)
Host of the National Report, ABC Radio National

Dr. Norman Swan, official MC of CanForum 2018 will open the formalities.

9:15am - 9:20am

Welcome Address

Kate Vines
Founder and Head of Patient Care
Rare Cancers Australia

9:25am - 9:50am

DNA Ownership

Dr. Ainsley Newson 
Associate Professor of Bioethics and Deputy Director
Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney

Genomic technology is rapidly disrupting our understanding of healthcare. In the case of rare cancers, genomic profiling can provide insights into under researched and funded disease and provide hopes for better treatment. Dr. Newson is an expert in science, law and bioethics and will speak to some of the ethical questions around genomic technology such as ‘who owns my DNA’, and by extension, ‘who should’?

9.55am - 10:25am

Macro DNA Usage and Artificial Intelligence

Cameron Bean
Health and Commercialisation Lead
Max Kelsen
Nick Therkelsen-Terry 
Co-Founder and CEO
Max Kelsen

One of the great struggles of treating patients is achieving a level of certainty around whether patients are likely to respond to medicines. This is particularly relevant for rare cancer patients who can go through multiple different treatments, side effects and costs before finding one that ‘fits’, if at all. Machine learning and artificial intelligence has the potential to use whole genome sequencing to improve knowledge about which patients will respond to various cancer treatments. The Max Kelsen team will be addressing the forefront of this technology in Australia, and the implications of the use of genomic data in this way.

10:40am - 11:10am

Morning Tea

Mural Hall

Morning tea will be located at Mural Hall. As it is in a private area of Parliament House, guests will be escorted to and from the Hall. Please be mindful of time to ensure we remain on schedule.

11:20am - 11:40am

Micro DNA usage – biomarkers

Prof. Ian Olver, AM 
Professor of Translational Cancer Research, Director
University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute

Professor Ian Olver is an expert in translational cancer research. This talk will focus on the growing emphasis on gene mutations and biomarkers in identifying appropriate treatments for cancer patients. This technology moves beyond the traditional focus on organ of origin in cancer diagnosis and treatment and has implications for how our health system caters to cancer patients.

11:45am - 12:15pm

Dispersed DNA/Blockchain

Prof. David Thomas
Director and Division Head Genomic Cancer Medicine Cancer Division
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Rupert Colchester 
Head of Blockchain and Practice Leader
IBM Australia and New Zealand

Blockchain technology is proving to have numerous applications beyond the world of cryptocurrency. Additionally, precision medicine is changing the way we research and treat cancer. This talk provides a combination of one of Australia’s leading blockchain technology experts, with one of Australia’s leading cancer researchers to explore the possibilities of blockchain technology in clinical trials.

12:30pm - 1:55pm

Meet the Patients Lunch

The Hon Greg Hunt, MP
Minister for Health
The Hon Catherine King, MP 
Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare
Senator Richard Di Natale
Leader of the Australian Greens 

During this lunch, the Minister for Health (the Hon. Greg Hunt, MP), the Shadow Minister for Health (the Hon. Catherine King, MP) and the Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Richard Di Natale) will address the CanForum attendees. They will be sharing their respective ambitions for the future of cancer research and treatment in Australia, with particular reference to rare and less common cancer patients. The rest of the lunch will be an opportunity for CanForum guests, including patients and carers, to mingle with each other and attending MPs and Senators.

2:05pm - 2:25pm

Rare Solutions Update/NOA

Richard Vines
Chief Executive
Rare Cancers Australia

The Rare Solutions report was launched at last year’s CanForum, with recommendations about how to approach some of the challenges rare cancer patients have with our health system. This year’s CanForum will launch an update report, highlighting the state of play for rare cancer patients across these recommendations, and addressing future challenges presented by new technologies. Richard Vines, Rare Cancers Australia’s CEO, will be speaking about the motivations behind this report, and why change is so necessary for rare and less common cancer patients.

2:30pm - 2:50pm

Patient Voices

Trisha Cashmere
Consumer Director
Cancer Council Australia
Sarah McGoram
Patient Advocate

There are innumerable technologies changing the way we understand and treat cancer. These topics are essential to improving the lot for Australian cancer patients. However, the most important of all, are the patient stories that speak to the experience of cancer patients and their carers. The ability of patients to access the care they need, when they need it, underpins Australia’s health system. Sarah and Trisha will speak to their respective experiences as patient and carer, in navigating a rare cancer diagnosis within our health system. These stories, and those like them, provide the impetus for policymakers, researchers and the wider community to keep doing better.

2:50pm - 4:15pm

Q&A Panel

Trisha Cashmere
Consumer Director, Cancer Council Australia
Liz Chatwin 
Country President
AstraZeneca Australia and New Zealand
Rupert Colchester 
Head of Blockchain and Practice Leader
IBM Australia and New Zealand
Dr. Paul Lacaze
Head, Public Health Genomics
Monash University
Dr. Ainsley Newson
Associate Professor of Bioethics and Deputy Director Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney
Prof. David Thomas 
Director and Division Head Genomic Cancer Medicine Cancer Division, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Facilitated by Dr Norman Swan. Panel discussion and audience Q&A.
The CanForum Panel brings together several of the day’s speakers, as well as additional guests for a lengthy audience Q&A .

4:20pm - 4:25pm

Closing Address

Richard Vines
Chief Executive
Rare Cancers Australia