Over the past 10 years, the intensive care community of Australia and New Zealand has built a track record and solid reputation for the conduct of high quality, investigator-initiated clinical research concerning the diseases and treatments that affect critically ill patients. This track record has been developed through individual achievement in addition to the highly productive collaborative activities of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group (ANZICS-CTG) formed in 1994. Since then, the ANZICS-CTG has completed and published high impact studies of increasing complexity and size. These include the ‘low dose dopamine trial for patients with early acute renal failure’ (n=328, The Lancet 2000), the ‘Saline Albumin Fluid Evaluation (SAFE) study’ (n=6997; NEJM 2004), and the ‘Medical Early Response Intervention and Therapy (MERIT) study’ (Cluster RCT of 23 hospitals, The Lancet 2005). The Level I evidence emerging from these trials has improved clinical practice internationally.
In October 2005, funding was received in the form of an NHMRC Enabling Grant to establish a national centre for intensive care research, the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (the ANZIC-RC). The grant was received in recognition of the track records in clinical research of the founding chief investigators (Professors Rinaldo Bellomo, John Myburgh, Simon Finfer and Jamie Cooper), the outstanding productivity of the ANZICS-CTG, and the perceived potential in developing a new high quality national resource with potential benefits to Intensive Care clinicians in Australia and New Zealand.
Funding for the ANZIC-RC was also provided by Monash University. The ANZIC-RC is located within the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, at The Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (The AMREP), in inner Melbourne. The core business of the ANZIC-RC is the design and conduct of world-class clinical (Phase I, II and III) trials. The Centre also collaborates with the ANZICS Patient Database and other data registries to carry out large and well designed observational studies to generate hypotheses which will be tested in subsequent prospective trials. These strategies are an integral component of developing detailed research programs.