Wednesday, 20 June 2018

World’s largest study into muscle weakness in ICU patients aims for faster discharge

The TEAM team (L-R): Lisa Higgins, A/Prof Hodgson,
 Prof Belinda Gabbe, Janani Sivasuthan
Associate Professor Carol Hodgson is leading the world’s largest research project investigating muscle weakness affecting patients admitted to Intensive Care Units (ICUs). With 150,000 Australians admitted to intensive care units each year, as many as 25% of survivors who were living at home prior to ICU are unable to return home due to ongoing disability. The study will enrol patients who require more than 2 days of mechanical ventilation. These patients account for 62% of the total bed-days in Australian ICUs and their direct care costs are approximately $2 billion per year.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Researchers recognised in Queens’ Birthday Honours

Congratulations to our four researchers who made the Queen’s Birthday Honours list recently.

Professor Rinaldo Bellomo: Officer in the General Division (AO)

For distinguished service to intensive care medicine as a biomedical scientist and researcher, through infrastructure and systems development to manage the critically ill, and as an author.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Driving national discussion around public health prevention

A/Prof Diug with The Hon Julia Gillard
and Michael Moore AM

MERQ's A/Prof Basia Diug and Prof Dragan Ilic were co-scientific leads of the inaugural Public Health Prevention Conference hosted by the Public Health Association Australia in Sydney during May. The event focussed on systems thinking, health advocacy and research translation. The conference was a great success with all 300 registrations sold.

Breast implant registry on track to protect patient health

The first comprehensive report on breast implant surgeries captured by the Australian Breast Device Registry (ABDR) between 2012 - 2016, marks a significant milestone in the development of registry's potential to safeguard patient health.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, the ABDR monitors the performance of breast implants, as well as tissue expanders and dermal matrices that may be used in the reconstruction of breast tissue, such as after mastectomies.

Project lead, Dr Ingrid Hopper, said the registry, which is expected to have national coverage later this year, will have the capacity to track complication rates back to a particular type of implant or surgical technique.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

TRANSFUSE study is Trial of the Year Finalist

(L-R):Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP,
Prof Jamie Cooper, Dr Zoe McQuilten

The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance announced their 2018 finalists and winners at an award ceremony on May 16th, and the TRANSFUSE trial, coordinated by the ANZIC-RC at our School, was a finalist for Trial of the Year.  Health Minister Greg Hunt MP presented the award at an event coinciding with International Clinical Trials Day.

The award acknowledges an investigator-driven trial for which the primary results were published in 2017, that addressed a critical gap in the evidence, demonstrated exceptional scientific rigour, and is expected to translate into a significant change in policy or practice. Professor Jamie Cooper and Dr Zoe McQuilten accepted the award on behalf of the TRANSFUSE Management Committee.

The TRANSFUSE Trial was an international, multi-centre, randomized, double-blind trial which investigated the age of red blood cells for transfusion and outcomes in critically ill adults. The primary paper, published in NEJM, demonstrated that blood transfusions using blood stored for up to the standard maximum of 42 days is just as beneficial or better for patient outcomes as using “fresher” blood stored for shorter period. 

“Older blood appears to be like a good red wine – better with some age,” lead researcher Professor Jamie Cooper said. “We found that in the sickest subgroup of intensive care patients that their outcomes were better with the older blood rather than the fresher.” 

Award winners and finalists, Prof Jamie Cooper rear left,
 Dr Zoe McQuilten sitting in front of him
Hospitals receive blood supplies from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. It’s allocated to patients using the oldest blood in each compatible group first. Some doctors were asking for the freshest possible blood for their patients because they believed it was better. The TRANSFUSE trial will likely result in improvements in the availability of blood by reducing wastage.

Minister Hunt used the ceremony to launch the Helping Our Health campaign to encourage more Australians to participate in ground-breaking clinical trials, opening up access to life-saving new medicines and treatments. The campaign will be led by four-time AFL premiership player and Hawthorn Football Club Captain, Jarryd Roughead.


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