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27th February 2022 Latest News

Improving cancer survivors’ quality of life headlines $1.7m grants

$1.7m research

Refining precision therapy for head and neck cancers and trialling faecal transplants to support people with blood cancer are the focus of $1.7 million worth of grants announced today by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group.

In total, four grants have been awarded to Early and Mid-Career medical researchers to significantly advance research in these critical areas of need.

Other projects include developing software to measure long-term hip implant stability and determining the optimal Vitamin C dosage to treat severe sepsis.

THRF Group CEO Paul Flynn said the Foundation was proud to bring a brighter future to people impacted by these debilitating conditions, as the largest non-government funder of medical research in South Australia.

“Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of the community and bring hope to all South Australians fighting disease and illness,” Paul said.

“Cancer treatments have advanced significantly in recent decades, and while some people thrive after treatment, others live with complex side effects which decrease their quality of life.

“Two of these grants will focus on reducing side effects from cancer treatment and building our understanding of current treatments.

“And while not spoken about often, a quarter of all patients in Australian ICU’s have sepsis – the body’s severe response to an infection – so preventing deaths in this area is a huge priority.

“The long-term health of the 50,000 people who have a hip replacement each year will also be enhanced.

“We’re proud to be advancing this work thanks to the generous support of our donors, fundraisers and ticket buyers in The Hospital Research Foundation Home Lottery.”

The four successful projects include:

Dr Chih-Tsung Yang – head and neck cancers
University of South Australia
Building greater understanding of the radiobiological effects of cutting-edge radiotherapy, including proton beam therapy, to guide precision radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients. To enable this, a radiogenomic tool will be developed using a bioengineered, patient-derived tumour organoid model.

Dr Hannah Wardill – blood cancers
University of Adelaide | SAHMRI
Establishing a faecal microbiota transplant (FMT – or stool transplant) service for people with blood cancers to help replenish their good gut bacteria that are damaged during treatment. It is hoped that FMT will rid them of their debilitating side effects and provide an additional line of support for people undergoing cancer treatment.

Dr Stuart Callary – hip replacements
University of Adelaide | Royal Adelaide Hospital
Developing new automated software to measure hip implant stability on x-ray images, in order to identify poor performing implants earlier. Software such as this will significantly reduce the time taken to measure implant stability which will allow surgeons to better predict long-term implant loosening and prevent patients from undergoing additional surgery.

Dr Mark Plummer – severe sepsis
University of Adelaide | Royal Adelaide Hospital
One in five people die due to sepsis when infection causes life-threatening organ failure. High-dose vitamin C delivered intravenously may be an effective treatment for sepsis, however the optimum dose is yet to be defined. This project will test whether mega-doses of Vitamin C can help critically ill people with sepsis.