An RMIT University research program aiming to minimise cardiac complications for patients receiving radiotherapy is one of ten projects funded through the $50 million National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Synergy Grant scheme this year.
Led by Professor Ricky O’Brien, the team will receive $5 million to develop the integrated technology needed to understand the heart’s response to radiation.
Their research program brings together leading Australian experts in cardiology, radiation oncology, engineering, data science, physics and medical device development to prototype and build novel medical devices so that patients can be treated safely with high doses of radiation.
Other Synergy Grants announced today will support research to improve treatments for devastating childhood cancers, address the barriers to malaria elimination, explore the link between body clock dysfunction and mood disorders, and understand and reduce the impact of sleep disturbance on the development of dementia.
In addition to the Synergy Grants announced today, the Australian Government will invest in research infrastructure by providing:
- $23.1 million to contribute to research infrastructure costs for 23 medical research institutes through the Independent Research Institutes Infrastructure Support Scheme (IRIISS)
- $5.7 million for 44 grants for the procurement of equipment to support the highest quality health and medical research.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Patients are at the centre of the funding announced today, as we see some of the best Australian scientists from across disciplines coming together to translate their scientific knowledge and expertise for better health outcomes.
“Research collaborations like these lead to solutions that can transform people’s lives.
“The work of Professor O’Brien and his colleagues has the potential to significantly improve these patients’ post-treatment quality of life.”
Quotes attributable to Professor O’Brien:
“This grant funding from NHMRC will allow our multidisciplinary team to understand the impact of radiation on the heart so that we can improve outcomes for patients treated for cancer and for cardiac disease.
“The research has been inspired by an exciting new treatment in radiation therapy for cardiac disease where radiation is actively targeted at the heart to treat ventricular tachycardia.
“Early clinical results are stellar, and our expertise dovetails with the skills needed to overcome the barriers to adoption of this new treatment while introducing new technologies to improve post-treatment quality of life.
“Our chief investigator team are at the top of their fields internationally, having pioneered new devices for cancer that are in use in more than 90% of radiation therapy clinics worldwide, as well as implementing devices that are routinely used in cardiology procedures.”
Full list of research projects funded through the 2022 Synergy Grant Scheme: