Clinical trials funding for epilepsy, diabetic renal disease and surgical infection

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L-R: Prof Sam El-Osta, A/Prof Trisha Peel & Prof Patrick Kwan were awarded NHMRC CTCS grants, announced 24 May 2022.

Central Clinical School's excellence in clinical trials has been recognised once again with three of our researchers successful in the latest round of the NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Scheme funding, announced on 24 May.

Congratulations to Professor Sam El-OstaAssociate Professor Trisha Peel and Professor Patrick Kwan on their successful applications. A/Prof Peel was successful earlier this year for the CALIPSO project under the MRFF RCRDUN scheme.

Together, the three grants total more than $11.7 million - 15.5% of the $75.3 million funding allocated to the 33 successful trials in this round - and cover critical health issues including diabetes, antimicrobial resistance, epilepsy and intensive care.

  • CI Professor Sam El-Osta, Department of Diabetes, is being awarded $4,897,328 for his project, "Epigenetic Protection Predicts Risk Diabetic Nephropathy (EPICENTRE)"

    Project description: Diabetes affects over 1 million Australians and disproportionately affects Indigenous Australians. We have established an international EPICENTRE consortium now seeking to explore the potential role of epigenetic modifications to explain the development of diabetic renal disease. Over the last decade, we have developed contemporary genomic technologies and new approaches that specifically characterise epigenetic modifications using overt renal disease as the primary outcome.

    See more about Prof El-Osta's research: www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/diabetes/research/el-osta-group

  • CI Associate Professor Trisha Peel, Department of Infectious Diseases, was awarded $4,343,709 for her project, "Duration of Cardiac Antimicrobial Prophylaxis Outcomes Study (CALIPSO): multicentre, adaptive, double-blind, three-arm, placebo-controlled, non-inferiority trial examining antimicrobial prophylaxis duration in cardiac surgery"

    A/Prof Peel had already received $7.9M for the CALIPSO project under the Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need (RCRDUN) grant opportunity (see 1 Feb CCS blog story). She said, "I am delighted that our grant application should have been awarded funding in two separate grant schemes, but we cannot accept both, so will be continuing with the RCRDUN grant and declining this CTCN grant."

    Project description: Infections following heart surgery lead to significant patient suffering and healthcare costs. The administration of antibiotics at the time of surgery is an important strategy to prevent infections. However, we do not know if there is an additional benefit with giving these antibiotics in the postoperative period or whether it will lead to patient harm, such as the emergence of drug-resistant infections. CALIPSO is an innovative, adaptive trial conducted by researchers at Monash and Alfred Health, examining the optimal duration of antibiotic therapy to prevent infections in 9000 patients undergoing heart surgery.

    See more about the trial, and the 31 May ANZCA media release.

  • CI Professor Patrick Kwan, Department of Neuroscience is being awarded $2,459,115.80 for his project, "Personalised Selection of Medication for Newly Diagnosed Adult Epilepsy – the PERSONAL Trial"

    Project description: Prof Kwan's study will use AI, having trained a machine learning prediction model that can assist neurologists to select the most effective initial anti-seizure medication for individual patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy. Their multicentre randomised controlled trial (PERSONAL) will evaluate whether incorporating the machine learning model in initial drug selection can render more patients seizure-free compared to usual care. Patients will be recruited from epilepsy centres across all six states of Australia.

    See more about Prof Kwan's research: www.monash.edu/medicine/ccs/neuroscience/research/kwan-group