Georgian Cancer Study Group
BIG Voting Representative: Prof Giorgi Dzagnidze
You may visit their website here.
Interview with Prof Giorgi Dzagnidze
Why did your group join the BIG network? What do you expect from this affiliation?
GCSG is a not-for-profit organisation focused on cancer research in Georgia. Since the establishment of the group in 2006, we have been working in several directions to improve breast cancer treatment standards, public awareness and scientific research. Joining BIG will help us to take the academic research environment to the next level, improve existing programmes and deliver better treatment to patients.
What are the biggest challenges for your group? Do you think that these are likely to be shared with other BIG member groups?
Despite making huge improvements both in scientific and clinical directions, Georgia still has more to achieve. GCSG has been actively involved in changing the general approach to cancer research and treatment in Georgia by working both with the public and private sectors. Improving treatment standards and the research environment as well as reducing talent drain still are major challenges to overcome.
How are clinical trials run at the GCSG? In which clinical trials or research programmes is your group currently involved?
Georgia has been endorsed by the clinical research industry, becoming one of the most promising countries in the region. Since the late 1990s, clinical research has been steadily growing thanks to the transparent and straightforward regulatory environment, investigators’ dedication to quality, and extremely positive feedback from the global pharmaceutical industry and regulators. GCSG members have participated in hundreds of clinical trials so far. Georgia is always on the list of the top recruiting countries while maintaining the quality of data.
In the different cancer centres affiliated with GCSG, the following interesting clinical trials are currently open:
- A randomised, multicentre, open-label trial, comparing chemotherapy plus trastuzumab plus pertuzumab versus chemotherapy plus trastuzumab emtansine plus pertuzumab as adjuvant therapy in patients with operable HER2-positive primary breast cancer (Roche)
- A randomised phase II study of fulvestrant in combination with either the dual mTOR inhibitor AZD2014 or everolimus, or fulvestrant alone in ER-positive metastatic breast cancer (Astra Zeneca)
- A phase II, randomised, placebo-controlled study of the AKT inhibitor AZD5363 in combination with paclitaxel in triple-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer (Astra Zeneca)
- A multicentre, double-blind, randomised, parallel-group, phase III study to compare the efficacy and safety of epirubicin versus trastuzumab in patients with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer (Mylan)
- A phase III, double‑Blind, randomised, parallel‑group, active‑controlled study to compare the efficacy and safety of CT‑P6 and trastuzumab as neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment in patients with HER2‑positive early breast cancer (Celltrion)
What does the breast cancer scenario look like today in Georgia and how do you think it will evolve in the next decade?
Breast cancer research and treatment have significantly improved in the last decade. Major challenges have been overcome. Several years ago there were no major screening or treatment programmes, academic research was halted and one of the most significant factors in contemporary cancer treatment – multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment – was nonexistent. In 2008, the breast cancer screening programme was launched, which was one of the most important steps forward. The patient advocacy group Europa Donna Georgia was established, as well as several treatment programmes funded by the government. The local oncology society endorsed a multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer treatment, and a new generation of medical oncologists has entered the scene. All of these factors have translated into better patient care, as well as increased life expectancy and quality of life. GCSG has been part of every major change so far and continues to be the leading group behind future development of the cancer research environment in Georgia.
Finally, what do you consider to be your group’s main achievements so far?
We are happy to be the major group behind the aforementioned positive changes happening in Georgia. Although more still has to be done, we are proud of the work we have done for the search and education of young talent, promotion of breast cancer research, and improvement of treatment standards.