Programme is subject to change.

Please click here to download abstracts for oral presentations.

Please click here to download abstracts for PHARMAC Award presentations.

Please click here to download abstracts for poster presentations.

Thursday 23 August

 2.00pm - 5.00pm

Registration open

 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Networking site pack in

 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Welcome function
1876 Restaurant and Bar

Friday 24 August

 7.00am - 5.30pm
Registration desk open

7.30am - 9.00am

MSD Breakfast symposium
Immune checkpoint inhibition in the clinic
Chair: Dr Richard North, Tauranga Hospital
Dr Catherine Barrow, Capital & Coast District Health Board
Dr Tony Rahman, Canterbury District Health Board


Conference opening

Session one: Cancer Biomarkers


Chair introduction
Dr Anita Dunbier


Liquid biopsies: Monitoring the cancer genome in blood
Associate Professor Sarah-Jane DawsonPeter MacCallum Cancer Centre


Long non-coding RNAs as drivers of tumor progression and metastasis
Dr Sarah Diermeier, University of Otago


A common variation in the IL6 promoter predicts time to metastasis for colorectal cancer and may indicate the mechanisms involved
Dr Nicholas Fleming, University of Otago


Proteomic analysis of breast cancer brain metastasis microenvironment in-vivo reveals a unique  milieu intérieur of metabolic reprogramming
Dr Priyakshi Kalita-de Croft, University of Queensland


Morning tea

Session two: Management and ethics of tissue banking


Chair introduction
Dr Margaret Currie


The Stanford Biobank: Standardisation and innovation for next generation biobanking
Dr Rohit Gupta, Stanford Biobank


Barriers to indigenous peoples participation in bio banking and genomic research
Associate Professor Jonathan Koea, Waitemata District Health Board

 12.30pm Merkel Cell Polyomavirus status and outcome for Merkel Cell Carcinoma in a New Zealand cohort
Kate Parker, University of Auckland



Session three: PHARMAC Awards

  Session chairs
Dr Kate Clarke and Dr Nicholas Fleming


Development of plasma genomic biomarkers for mutation detection and monitoring in New Zealand cancer patients
Sandra Fitzgerald, University of Auckland

  Unmet need for patients with cancer admitted to hospital under non-oncology services: need for an integrated acute oncology/palliative care service?
Dr Nadia Hitchen, Auckland City Hospital

  Investigating the clinical significance of fibroblast growth factor inducible 14 in breast cancer
Joshua Harris, University of Otago

  Early WBCC experiences with check-point inhibitors in advanced melanoma - Response rates, toxicity, and the effect of baseline ECOG status
Dr Jessica Lowe, Wellington Blood and Cancer Centre 

  Evaluating variants in breast cancer associated genes identified by panel sequencing of New Zealand breast cancer patients
Dr Vanessa Lattimore, University of Otago, Christchurch

  Real-world palliative chemotherapy use and outcomes – A national view from the pharmaceutical claims collection
Dr Johanna Paddison, PHARMAC

  The role of Pseudokinase TRIB1 in breast cancer
Hamish McMillan, University of Otago

  Engineering a 3D model system for studying breast cancer-adipocyte interactions within the tumour microenvironment
Jessika Wise, University of Otago, Christchurch


Afternoon tea

Session four: Patient focussed cancer diagnosis and treatment


Chair introduction
A/Prof Michael Jameson


Molecular mechanisms governing sensitivity and resistance to epigenetic therapies
Professor Mark Dawson, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre


Orientation of newly diagnosed cancer patients:  Improving patient empowerment, equity, and various outcomes, while saving clinicians' time 
Dr Heather Heron-Speirs, Psychologist


Bruce Cain Memorial Lecture
Professor Bridget Robinson, University of Otago, Christchurch

 4.45pm - 5.45pm

Poster session with drinks and canapes

 6.30pm onwards

50th anniversary conference dinner at Skyline

Saturday 25 August

 8.30am - 3.30pm Registration desk open

Session five: Molecular oncology

Session kindly supported by Maurice Wilkins Centre


Chair introduction
Dr Ben Lawrence


US National Cancer Institute Precision Medicine Initiatives: NCI-MATCH and Beyond
Dr James Doroshow, National Cancer Institute, USA


Co-targeting BRAF and VEGF-A receptors synergistically inhibited the growth of BRAF-mutant and BRAF wild-type melanomas
Khanh Tran, University of Auckland


Identification of MRP2 as a targetable factor limiting oxaliplatin accumulation and response in gastrointestinal cancer
Dr Yan Li,  Auckland University of Technology


Targeting DNA-dependent protein kinase for tumour-selective radiosensitisation
Professor Bill Wilson, University of Auckland


A History of the New Zealand Society for Oncology
Cheryl Ware


Morning tea

Session six: New technologies in cancer research


Chair introduction
Dr Sharon Pattison


Optical barcoding highlights novel characteristics of treatment resistant cells in metastatic colorectal cancer
Associate Professor Frederic Hollande, University of Melbourne


The importance of digital technologies in research and innovation
Dr Helen Lunt, Canterbury District Health Board

An increase in effector Tregs is a classifying feature of the immune landscape in colorectal tumours
Dr Sam Norton, University of Otago


Investigating Tumour Evolution in a Single Patient with disseminated disease
Tamsin Robb, University of Auckland


Survival after Breast Conserving Surgery (BCS) Compared to Mastectomy (MTX) in Early Stage Breast Cancer
Shoaib Abrahimi, University of Auckland



Session seven: Mechanisms for translational cancer research


Chair introduction
A/ Prof Roslyn Kemp


Neuroendocrine tumours - cracking the epigenetic code
Dr Christina Thirlwell, UCL Cancer Institute, University College London

Presentation of NZSO Translational Researcher Award


NZSO Translational Researcher Award Lecture
Teaching old drugs new tricks
Associate Professor Michael Jameson, Waikato Hospital


2017 Roche Translational Cancer Research Fellowship recipient presentation
Dr Francis Hunter, University of Auckland


Conference close and poster award presentations



Sunday 26 August

Joint NZASI session at Rydges Hotel


NZSO will be held immediately prior to Queenstown Research Week in 2018. There are several interesting satellite meetings and we hope that NZSO delegates would consider staying on a few extra days to attend other meetings. As part of our collaborative plan, we are offering NZSO delegates free attendance at an "Onoc-Immunology" session on the morning of Sunday 26 August at the NZASI (Immunology) QRW meeting. Delegates may also be interested in QRW- Cancer. See details on QRW website here for more info.

Please note that other than complimentary attendance at the NZASI Onco-Immunology session, QRW runs as a separate and distinct event from NZSO. If you plan to attend a full QRW meeting, you will need to register for both NZSO on this website and QRW satellite meetings here.



Roslyn KempNZSO President

Kate ClarkeVice President

Ken Dempster NZSO Membership

Charlotte Emery Conference and Website