World class research goes online for RAHsearch

Fourteen of the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s brightest medical minds will virtually share their latest research as part of the hospital’s RAHsearch showcase.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) Chief Executive Officer, Lesley Dwyer, said the online event will allow researchers to discuss the important work they are doing to improve patient care.

“The Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) is fortunate to have some of Australia’s most innovative health professionals and academics, who are working hard to make the lives of South Australians better through ground breaking research,” Ms Dwyer said.

“Supporting research within our hospitals means our patients get access to clinical trials and the latest treatments, which ultimately leads to better care.

“While the research projects are all at different stages, it will be a chance for the public to hear directly from our researchers, ask their own questions and learn about positive results from recent trials.

“I invite anyone with an interest in medical research to tune-in to hear from some of our leading researchers and experts and hear how their work is changing lives.”

The three-day event will highlight a variety of research projects being conducted at the RAH, with topics to cover trauma and emergencies, cancer therapies, COVID-19 and the treatment of inflammatory disorders.

Training artificial intelligence to use images to predict the severity of bowel cancer is just one of a number of projects aimed at improving the outcomes for patients requiring colorectal surgery.

RAH Colorectal surgeon and bowel cancer researcher, Associate Professor Tarik Sammour, said the concept is similar to the way Facebook is able to identify a person’s face in a photo.

“We are training the algorithm to understand what a cancer is, what a bad cancer is and what a good cancer is in terms of survival,” A/Prof Sammour said.

“To do this, we show the computer hundreds of images of different bowel cancers which it can then draw on to identify a new cancer and predict its severity.

“This will help us to identify the most appropriate treatment option to achieve the best outcome for the patient.”

A world-leading stroke trial investigating early keyhole brain surgery to treat acute intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH), or bleeding into the brain, is set to move to the next phase.

Head of the RAH Stroke Unit, Associate Professor Tim Kleinig, said ICH makes up about 15 per cent of all strokes resulting in around one in 20 deaths worldwide and severe disability in the majority of survivors.

“The EVACUATE trial examines whether early minimally invasive brain surgery in patients who present with these large haemorrhages can achieve the best outcome for patients,” A/Prof Kleinig said.

“Surgical treatments of ICH are unproven, but we think that if surgery is performed early enough, we can stop the expansion of the bleed and reverse the toxic effects of blood in the brain.

“The second phase will involve a randomised control trial at the RAH and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, before it progresses to all major stroke centres around the country.”

Providing more effective and efficient care to patients with inflammatory gut disorders will be the focus of a new trial which will include online hypnotherapy sessions as a treatment.

Head of the RAH Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Service and Gastroenterologist, Professor Jane Andrews, said the trial could lead to better treatment options.

“How your brain feels affects your gut and vice versa, so we want to see whether psychological intervention has any influence on illnesses like Crohn’s disease,” Prof Andrews said.

“To do this, we will provide patients with their normal treatment with the addition of hypnotherapy and will then assess the patient to see if they felt better and whether there was any impact on their stress hormones.

“If effective, treatments like hypnotherapy could one day become a normal option for patients experiencing these types of issues.”

RAHsearch is being held from the 12- 14 October with the hour-long sessions to include a live Q&A panel discussion.

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