March 25, 2022

Bringing research into practice

Research Week at Northern Health annually showcases a range of local and innovative research projects and presentations from research leaders around the world.

One of the objectives of Research Week, says Faye Zaibak, Director of Research Operations, is to showcase our home grown talent and show how “Northern Health is meeting our community needs and bringing research into practice.” See our story here.

A good example of this, is the webinar ‘Thrombosis & Cancer – What is new?’ on 29 March at 10 am, organised by Northern Health Diagnostic and Cancer Services. Click here for the flyer.

The webinar, hosted by A/Prof Prahlad Ho, Divisional Director, Diagnostic & Outpatient Services and Cancer Services, will address common clinical dilemmas, including optimisation of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) care and evaluate new models for managing out of hospital cardiac arrests.

With the exception of Prof Harshal Nandurkar, Head of the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Director of Clinical Haematology at Alfred Health and Director of the Alfred Cancer Program, on the subject of ‘Designing a novel treatment for post cardiac arrest syndrome’, all the other speakers at the webinar are ‘home grown’.

They include Mr Niki Lee, Senior Haematology, Coagulation and Blood Bank Scientist, Dr Brandon Lui (BPT 1 trainee and researcher), Dr Kay Weng Choy, Chemical Pathologist, Dr Chong Chyn Chua, Head of Malignant Haematology, Head of Acute Leukaemia/MDS and Haematology Clinical Trials Lead and Dr Belinda Lee, Head of Cancer Clinical Trials, Cancer Services Research Lead, and Consultant Medical Oncologist.

Research Week 2022 celebrates our inspired researchers. Click here for more details and the complete program.

Interestingly, COVID-19 features in only one presentation (‘Overall haemostatic potential identifies greater severity of COVID-19 infection’ by Mr Lee), with the majority looking beyond the pandemic at topics that took a back seat to COVID-19.

“What it points to, is that research, despite all the challenges of COVID-19, has been progressing on many fronts, here at Northern Health,” says Prahlad.

“It underlines the importance of collaboration and partnership – especially with our northern community.”

Collaboration is also the theme of the last presenter at the webinar, Dr Belinda Lee. The PURPLE translational registry was established by Dr Lee in 2016 with the aim of increased collaboration between centres and accelerating translational research in pancreatic cancer. To date, over 43 cancer centres have joined the PURPLE pancreatic cancer network. Belinda will discuss how we can build a sustainable ecosystem in pancreatic cancer research with examples from the PURPLE registry.

“There is a growing urgency to address pancreatic cancer which has seen a 60 per cent acceleration in incidence rates in Australia since 2002. Globally it is predicted to become the second lead cause of cancer related death. These statistics are also impacting our own community here at the Northern,” says Belinda.

“With this in mind our trials unit will soon be opening two new pancreatic cancer trials in addition to the work we are already doing to improve outcomes,” she adds.

Could it be Northern Health researchers that help provide the answers?