The first round of MRFF grant funding announced by the Federal Minister for Health resulted in $29 million invested towards tackling our nation’s single biggest killer. In order to celebrate the success, ACvA hosted a spotlight on grant recipients over the course of a week.

 

Our first spotlight is on Prof. Louisa Jorm from the Big Data Flagship and her team for their project titled,  “Novel deep learning methods for large-scale cardiovascular risk screening using Australian digital health data”. Louisa and her team will conduct two studies using deep learning methods to deliver highly novel, low cost approaches to cardiovascular risk screening using health service data that is already available for millions of Australians. Professor Jorm said, “This [Our studies] will help people who are at high risk to take action early to modify their lifestyles and use preventive medications, avoiding the devastating consequences of these diseases.”

 

Our second spotlight is on Prof. Bruce Campbell and A/Prof Tim Kleinig and their team for the project titled, “A randomised controlled trial of ultra-early, minimally invasive surgery for intracerebral haemorrhage (EVACUATE)”. Their funded research is a phase 2B/3 randomised clinical trial that will test the hypothesis that ultra-early minimally invasive haematoma removal in patients with supratentorial intracerebral haematoma (ICH) will improve functional outcomes compared to conventional medical therapy. The trial will run over the next three years in 15 centres across Australia.
This trial offers the promise of more significant recovery and enhanced quality of life for those many thousands of Australians who suffer an ICH event each year.

 

Or third spotlight is on Prof. David and his multidisciplinary team for their project titled, “Personalised Pulmonary Valved Conduits: reducing re-operations in CHD”. A baby born with congenital heart disease (CHD) and requiring a right ventricle to pulmonary artery (RV-PA) conduit will usually need a replacement by Age 5 and then every 8-12 years after that throughout adulthood. Around 50 cildren receive their first RV-PA conduit every year in Australia, with approximately three hundred operations being required annually for replacements. The cost of inpatient care alone over the first ten years of life is more than $310,000 per patient, ignoring the broader health, psychological and financial impact that this disease brings to affected children and their families. Using polymer science and computational engineering, the team hope to address the many shortcomings of products currently used in clinical practice and circumvent the numerous challenges on individual health and quality of life that are affected by this disease.

 

Our fourth spotlight is on Prof David Celermajer and his team for their project titled, “An Australian Study of the Outcomes and Burden of Congenital Heart Disease”. The research will focus on Australians currently living with CHD or caring for patients with CHD. It will examine the “whole of life burden” of CHD, from four key perspectives with direct relevance to informing clinical practice, expert clinical guidelines and designing innovative CHD-focussed trials.

 

Last, but certainly not least, our fifth spotlight is on Prof. Tony Keech and his team for their project titled, “Colchicine After Stroke to Prevent Event Recurrence (CASPER) Study”. The team has previously shown that oral colchicine has striking anti-inflammatory and plaque stabilising properties in patients with vascular disease and on optimal medical therapy. Pilot data has also demonstrated that colchicine is very well tolerated in a secondary prevention population, with no important drug interactions identified. The proposed CASPER trial is a multi-centre randomised controlled trial, testing the effects of colchicine in addition to optimal medical therapy to reduce stroke morbidity and mortality in persistently high CRP patients after a stroke event, thereby improving clinical outcomes.

 

For more details on the outstanding achievement from these researchers, please click below.