2 Feb 2018

Funding boost for research on rare cancers and diseases

L-R: A/Prof Andrew Wei, A/Prof David Curtis, A/Prof Erica Wood and Prof David Pilcher
Congratulations to the medical researchers from The Alfred and Monash University who have scooped more than $5.5million in funding to tackle rare cancers and diseases!

The four major research projects were among 19 Australia-wide to receive federal government backing under the Medical Research Future Fund’s Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Needs Clinical Trials Program.

“This substantial funding boost recognises the high calibre of research undertaken by The Alfred clinicians and cements our position as leaders in medical research and clinical trials,” said Professor Andrew Way, Chief Executive of Alfred Health.

“The findings from these projects will position us at the forefront of future medical developments, allowing us to make a difference in the lives of millions of Australians.

“Congratulations to A/Prof Andrew Wei, A/Prof Erica Wood, Professor David Pilcher and A/Prof David Curtis – and their teams – on their successful grant applications.”

Professor Stephen Jane, Head of Central Clinical School, said that the funding result is a great example of the seamless integration between the research capabilities at Monash University and the clinical units at Alfred Health, with all recipients holding joint appointments with the two organisations.

"This partnership is really allowing the translation of research hypotheses into meaningful outcomes for patients in the shortest possible time," he said.

Grant projects

Adjunct Associate Professor Andrew Wei - $1,507,785

This project will create an integrated national clinical trial program aimed at improving outcomes for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) by introducing precision-based diagnosis, treatment and monitoring within the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group.

Associate Professor David Curtis -  $1,570,198

Bone marrow transplant is an important curative treatment for patients with blood cancers. Unfortunately, 40 per cent of patients will develop a life-threatening complication called graft versus host disease (GVHD). This study will compare two strategies to prevent GVHD – the standard drugs used for almost 30 years and a new treatment.

Associate Professor Erica Wood - $1,750,726

The DIAAMOND study: Diagnosis of aplastic anaemia, management, and outcomes utilising a national dataset. Aplastic anaemia (AA) is a bone marrow disorder leading to profound anaemia, low platelet counts (risk of major bleeding) and low white blood cell counts (risk of serious infection). Mortality is as bad as many cancers. Better diagnosis and treatment is needed.

Professor David Pilcher, Deputy Director ICU - $753,355

The BLENDER Trial – Blend to Limit Oxygen in ECMO: A randomised Controlled Registry Trial The sickest patients with heart & lung failure sometimes require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO pumps blood into the body with very high oxygen levels. High oxygen levels may be harmful. A more conservative oxygen level is possible.

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