Cutting edge research

Thursday, 26 June 2008

In 2003 Mater established the Mater Research Support Centre (MRSC) to coordinate and support all research and researchers working at Mater Health Services in carrying out quality study efforts.

Since 2005 more than 490 research projects have been launched at Mater Health Services. In 2008 our cutting edge medical research projects have significantly increased in number and many have achieved exciting outcomes. More than 180 Mater investigators are currently working on projects in departments across Mater’s campus.

Project examples

Improving chemotherapy results

On 26 June Mater Pharmacy Services launched its Australian Centre for Paediatric Pharmacokinetics (ACPP)/Adult Oncology and Hospira Clinical Pharmacology Program. The program is a long-term initiative between Mater Health Services and Hospira and is run in conjunction with ACPP, Adult Oncology and the Mater Pharmacy Service. It aims to improve chemotherapy for cancer sufferers by individualising patient treatment.

The program hopes to contribute to current extensive global efforts aimed at developing a more patient-specific approach to delivering cancer pharmacotherapies. The primary objective is to develop an understanding of the mathematical behaviour of various drug candidates and then to determine relationships which correlate with genetic variables and drug activity in both paediatric and adult oncology. The goal is to improve therapeutic index by maximising anticancer effect and minimising the harmful effects of chemotherapy.

“Bringing up children Gran’s way”

In 2008 Kids in Mind, Mater’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS), partnered with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Kids In Mind Research Centre for this “back to basics” study. Chief Investigator Rev. Jenny Thompson, Indigenous Consultant for Mater CYMHS and her team spoke with 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders. The project gathered stories of their child rearing experience with a view to helping young indigenous parents with child rearing. A publication has been produced with the compiled stories of the elders and in 2009 the research team will develop academic publications based on the interview data.

Staples help correct spine curvature

The treatment of scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine) is a difficult problem in children. Research conducted recently at Mater by the Paediatric Spine Research Group has investigated the use of spinal staples to control the growth of the spine and correct the curvature. This research has found that spinal stapling is a viable treatment option which is likely to result in improvement in the spinal curvature with minimal impact on the movement of the spine.

KOALAS to fight obesity

KOALA (K is kinder for children and their families, O is Overweight, Overcoming and being OK, A is Active mind and body, L is Life-giving diet and A is Actions ahead) incorporates novel community-based behavioural, nutritional and exercise therapies in partnership with Scouts Queensland and Lifestyle Triple P. The program is being used to advance study into obesity and type 2 diabetes genetics through metabolic gene expression analysis and body composition studies. It also undertakes analysis of the psycho-behavioural, nutritional and human movement factors that lead to development of child obesity. An important part of KOALA is behavioural intervention to improve self-esteem and motivation of children and their families.

Controlling the side effects of chemotherapy

This study, being undertaken by Mater Adult Hospital Cancer Services, is investigating the benefit of using electroacupuncture for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. Specifically it is testing if electroacupuncture has a benefit in delayed chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, which is defined as after the first 24 hours post chemotherapy. Even with our new antiemetic drugs and protocols patients still experience nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are identified as the major concerns for patients undergoing chemotherapy. The trial will address areas that need to be investigated as identified by Ezzo et al 2005 in a Cochrane Collaborative Review. These include obtaining data on the effectiveness of electroacupuncture with modern antiemetics, utilising more than one acupuncture point and collecting data on delayed nausea and vomiting.

Filed under: Adult, Children's, Research
    Since 2005 more than 490 research projects have been launched at Mater Health Services.KOALA researcher Dr Gary Leong with a patient.Research by the Paediatric Spine Research Group has investigated the use of spinal staples to contro

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