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Monash Haematology Research is a primary recruiter in Australasia for several local and international clinical trials. Our extensive range of clinical trials gives patients access to novel therapies not currently available. In addition, clinical members have considerable expertise in basic scientific research. A dedicated research team, comprising of clinical nurses, coordinators, research assistants and research Fellows, provide support to our research programme.
Monash Haematology is a lead international site for expertise and clinical trial activity in lymphoid cancer and chronic myeloid disorders lead by Associate Prof Stephen Opat. Recent highlights include a lead role in GCLLSG CLL11, presented in the ASH plenary with authorship in the NEJM (2014; 370: 1101-10); the results of this trial represent a paradigm shift in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. New approaches to treatment of primary CNS-lymphoma have translated to excellent patient outcomes as recently published in Neuro Oncol (2013; 15: 1068-73) and Br J Cancer (2014, epub). . Monash has one of the largest public chronic myeloid leukaemia clinics (CML) in Australia, and has been a lead recruiter to international Phase III CML and myelodysplasia studies.
Dr George Grigoriadis and Dr Jake Shortt (JS) Monash Health are both recipients of VCA clinical research fellowships and NHMRC project grants with strong translational work as part of the CCR at MIMR-PHI and in conjunction with the PMCI, specifically working on the stage specific inflammation/ immunomodulation in the evolution of myelodysplastic syndrome from low-to-high risk and impact on therapeutic approaches. JS is the inaugural recipient of the Snowdome Foundation / VCA grant for ‘new targets in haematological malignancy’. In conjunction with NHMRC project grant funding he is conducting a phase I study of the first in class dual IMiD/bromodomain inhibitor N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) in relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. This trial will commence in 2014. Through the VEG, Dr Shortt will also be driving studies of epigenetic therapies in acute leukaemia and MDS at Monash and collaborating centres.
Monash Health is also a centre of excellence for the management of pregnancy-associated venous thrombotic disorders a relatively rare condition but a leading cause of maternal mortality in a developed country like Australia. Research in this area has been further promulgated by Monash’s lead clinician in this area assisting with the development of Australasian guidelines (Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2012; 52:14-22 and 3-13). Perhaps the largest impact has been in the clinical development of novel antithrombotic drugs, where Monash was consistently the top Australasian recruiter in Phase III studies, six of which were published in the NEJM.
The Thalassaemia unit’s active clinical trials programme has participated in large multinational Phase III trials of oral chelation therapy (EPIC trial) which have now become standard of. It is also conducting an investigator-initiated study of ultrarapid (60 second) parenteral iron carboxymaltose infusion, which has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia, the most common haematologic illness worldwide.
Our lead transfusion medicine specialist is involved with ongoing transfusion outcomes research and is involved in registries in partnership with Monash DEPM (only academic transfusion medicine program in Australia). These registries cover some uncommon but clinically important conditions such as in Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia and Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This partnership has also been successful in NHMRC project grants in establishing a massive transfusion registry group