Monday 26 October 2015

The NETwork! project team hosted a Research Planning day on 23rd October 2015. The key aim of this initiative was to help to prepare a New Zealand agenda for the forthcoming meeting of the COMMNETS collaboration group.

COMMNETS is the Commonwealth Neuroendocrine Tumour Group, and is being established to help direct and facilitate research into NETs across New Zealand, Australia and Canada. The first meeting of the COMMNETS group will be held on 6-7th November, and it is anticipated that the meeting will result in an agreed, prioritised neuroendocrine tumour research strategy and a commitment to collaborate between the countries. The first meeting has a key aim of identifying gaps in NET research, and we in NZ can help to shape this research agenda.

The breakout sessions at our research planning day were made up of clinicians, researchers and patients, and these mixed groups were asked to identify research ideas and ways forward, focusing on the following themes:

• Where are the gaps in knowledge?
• What are the key unmet needs?
• What are your research priorities?
• Where should COMMNETS focus its research?

Outcomes of the discussions of these groups fell into five broad categories: lack of biomarkers; raising awareness of NETs; treatment options; genomic research and pathology. Some of the proffered research priorities raised fit easily into existing COMMNETs priorities, while some others had not been considered in the initial COMMNETS discussions. Whilst our breakout discussions focused primarily on research priorities, a by-product of this dialogue was recognition of clinical needs. These are also noted as they may form apart of future research strategy.

We were particularly grateful to have a good representation of patients at this meeting, and their insight into the current research gaps was invaluable to our discussion.

With thanks to all who contributed to this discussion: Dean Harris, Mike Findlay, Ruellyn Cockcroft, Arend Merrie, Lucy Modahl, Greg Tarr, Malcolm Legget, Siobhan Conroy, Rachel Lee, Lynne O’Connor, Masato Yozu, Avril Hull, Glenys Mahoney, Alana Gould, Cherie Blenkiron, Sandra Fitzgerald, Kimiora Henare, Peter Tsai, Braden Woodhouse, Helen Morrin, Phillip Shepherd, Prem Sharma, Helen Wihongi, Ben Lawrence, Cristin Print, Kate Parker