TRI EMT and Cancer Treatment Symposium

Leveraging on the availability of key national translational clinician researchers with EMT interests (Drs Andy Redfern, Elgene Lim), and particularly the head of Translational Medicine, Eisai Global Oncology, USA (Dr Bruce Littlefield) the goal of this meeting is to enhance collaborations among EMT researchers in Queensland. Eisai’s newly registered cancer therapy eribulin has been shown to reverse EMT and stabilize tumour vasculature, in addition to being a potent anti-microtubule cytotoxic agent.

In addition to these Plenary and Keynote speakers, we have planned several sessions for both oral and posters presentations from local HDR, ECR, and Senior EMT researchers throughout the day. The following speakers will also be presenting at the symposium: 

  • A/Prof Andreas Möller (QIMR)
  • Dr Brett Hollier (QUT)
  • A/Prof Helmut Schaider (UQDI)
  • Dr Iman Azimi (PACE)
  • Dr Aparna Jayachandran (GMRI)

International Plenary Speaker - DR BRUCE A LITTLEFIELD

Distinguished Scientist and Head, Translational Medicine
Global Oncology, OBG
Eisai Inc.


Dr. Littlefield holds the dual positions of Distinguished Scientist and Head, Translational Medicine in the Global Oncology group at Eisai, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo.

A biochemist by training, Dr. Littlefield first joined Eisai in 1990 and since that time has overseen numerous natural product-based oncology drug discovery programs.

One such program, initiated at Eisai by Dr. Littlefield in 1992 together with Professor Yoshito Kishi of Harvard, was based on the marine sponge natural product halichondrin B. This program led to development of eribulin (Halaven ® ), currently approved in over 60 countries for treatment of certain patients with advanced breast cancer, with additional approvals for advanced liposarcoma or soft tissue sarcoma in many other countries.

Dr. Littlefield has published widely in the cancer research and drug development areas, holds numerous drug-related patents, and is a frequent lecturer at universities, medical centers and scientific conferences in the US and abroad. In addition to working at Eisai, Dr. Littlefield has held faculty positions at both Yale and Harvard Medical Schools, most recently in 2009-2011, when he temporarily moved to Harvard as Scientific Director of a new natural products research program, before returning to Eisai in his current capacity in 2011.

Keynote Speaker - DR ANDY REDFERN

Consultant Medical Oncologist 
Fiona Stanley Hospital

Clinical Head of the Cancer Division
Harry Perkins Institute

Western Australia

Andy Redfern is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Fiona Stanley Hospital, a translational cancer researcher with the University of Western Australia funded by the Cancer Council of WA and current clinical head of the Cancer Division at Harry Perkins Institute.

He is also Medical Director of Linear Clinical Research, WAs early phase clinical trial centre, and is the State Lead Clinical for Breast Cancer overseeing services across the state.

His research interests are diverse, ranging from the influence of basic tumour biology on cancer outcomes to the delivery of tailored cancer screening. Ongoing biological areas of study include; mechanisms of chemotherapy and hormone therapy resistance in cancer, EMT, breast density biology and clinical utility, tumour-associated macrophages, novel cancer drivers in high risk breast cancer subsets, and clinical implications of nuclear receptor co-regulators.

Service delivery projects include; exploring the role of biology, treatment prescription and compliance in Indigenous outcomes, optimal structures of cancer follow-up, the role of mammographic and bone density in guiding adjuvant endocrine breast cancer therapy and using risk profile to tailor cancer screening.

Finally he is the principle investigator involved in the design and conduct of a range of clinical trials across the phases.


Medical oncologist
Kinghorn Cancer Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital

Head, Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Group
Garvan Institute of Medical Research


A/Prof Elgene Lim is a clinical academic with UNSW, and a medical oncologist at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital.

He leads the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and is the inaugural National Breast Cancer Foundation Endowed Chair. His team performs clinically focused laboratory research, utilizing patient-derived breast tumour xenografts for the evaluation of novel therapies.

A major focus of his group is on overcoming resistance to currently used endocrine therapies. His research is funded through the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Love Your Sister, Cancer Australia, Cancer Council of NSW, National Health and Medical Research Council, Movember, the Garvan and St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation, and the ANZ Breast Cancer Trialist Group.

He was awarded his medical degree from the University of Melbourne, and subsequently obtained his medical oncology fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2006. He was awarded his PhD at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute on his seminal work on aberrant cells in carriers of the BRCA1 mutant gene, which are the likely culprit cells giving rise to breast cancer.

He furthered his research and clinical training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School under the mentorship of internationally acclaimed leaders in breast cancer research Professors Eric Winer & Myles Brown. He returned to Australia in 2014 to establish his own research group.


> The Symposium on EMT and Cancer Treatment is co-Convened by Prof Erik Thompson, Dr Aparna Jayachandran & Dr Shivashankar Nagaraj. 

> Would you like to be considered for a short oral presentation or poster in this forum? Please send a title and short abstract (200 words) before 9th October 2017.

> Registration is free but RSVP is essential for catering purposes.