We continue to focus as always on the areas of research that can be expanded so as to support the different surgical programs we have in the Cardiothoracic Department at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Our pillars of research are outlined below – Professor Paul Bannon
Our clinical trials have been significantly impacted by COVID but the team have worked extremely hard to try to keep the trials going in both the public and the private institutions. The key areas are on blood transfusion practices (the continuations of the TRICS 3 trial into TRICS 4) as well as the new CLIP 2 trial on cryopreserved liquid platelet transfusions. These two trials will really add significantly to the international literature and the management of transfusion practices in major cardiac surgery around the world.
Some of the bio-banking has been impacted by COVID but despite that our strategy in this area has really come to maturity this year with the joining of the aortic biobank and the cardiac muscle biobank. The biobank is already beginning to generate some basic science projects in the Charles Perkins Centre in the area of heart failure in conjunction with Dr Sean Lal and Dr John O’Sullivan. We have also been able to continue our support for the vascular surgical department at RPAH by helping them to develop their biobanking strategy.
Broken Heart Program:
We have wrapped up all of our experimental work for the Broken Heart Program and chief researcher, Dr Laurencie Brunel, is preparing to submit her thesis and the third and final publication in that area of work. For this program, predict and model individualised surgical corrective techniques. We then test the model in the research theatre by looking at the structural integrity of the repair This research work sets the scene for what we want to do in this area in the future. We have also put in an application for a collaboration with Stanford University in the USA and we are waiting to hear the result of this.
Surgical Outcomes Program:
The Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL) links multiple sources of data and maintains a record linkage system that protects patient privacy. Data linkage transforms routinely collected data into a powerful resource for research and evaluation. Our Clinical Trials team has submitted the data for 12,500 patients to the CHeReL system This data on long-term follow-up and reintervention rates, will give us the answers to our questions on comparative surgical strategies and how well we have done over the years.
This has had to take a back seat during COVID as the lab in the Charles Perkins Centre has been shut down for a large part of the last 6 months. The lab has just started to re-open in the last few weeks, as a result, planning for further research in this area is now underway.
The Baird Institute is currently providing support for two research staff members; Cassandra in the biobanking program and Dhairya in the cardiothoracic research office. These two positions provide an excellent link between the surgical outcomes and the biobanking programs, both of which are inextricably linked. In addition, Dhairya will be assisting with clinical governance research and clinical trials in the Cardiothoracic department.
Finally, we have made a decision to commit to the development of a translational research group in The Charles Perkins Centre and we are currently advertising for a candidate to fill a post-doctoral position. This person will most likely be a biomedical engineer who will support our higher degree research students across the different areas of interest.