GenesisCare is championing research and celebrating its passionate clinical teams and patients involved in trials this International Clinical Trials Day.
Commemorated on or near 20 May, International Clinical Trials Day marks the day James Lind began what is believed to be the world's first controlled clinical trial against the deadly disease scurvy. In 1747, he developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy and the results of his trial saved the lives of thousands of sailors.
Fast forward to 2017, life expectancy has improved dramatically, attributable to advances in science, medical research and public health policies.i
GenesisCare Chief Medical Officer Dr Nathaniel Heiner said research underpinned our ability to deliver world-class treatment to our patients.
"Many of our doctors have a special interest in clinical trials - it's a key part of understanding complex diseases and developing safe treatments to tackle these diseases."
"Across our cancer and cardiology network, these trials can take the form of new technology or devices, new techniques, new interventions that happen alongside treatment, new medicines, or a combination of these."
GenesisCare clinical trial participant, Sally, said that having a disease like cancer can make you feel powerless and that being part of a trial can help a patient feel like they are playing a greater role in their own treatment.
"It has benefits to you but it also has benefits to people walking in your shoes down the track," she added.
Dr Heiner agreed: "Research allows us to be at the cutting edge of treatment, and we're in a unique position to be able to put new evidence into practice to continuously improve outcomes.
"There is evidence to suggest that clinical trial participants may have better outcomes.ii The longer follow-up periods generally required in trials can also give patients extra peace of mind.
"We are very proud that our people are involved in or leading more than 100 research initiatives across the GenesisCare group," he said.
GenesisCare has state-based and national research committees that oversee trials, a network of dedicated clinical trial staff who work closely with patients involved in research, and ongoing partnerships with both national and international researchers.
It is important to note that survival rates vary considerably between patients and depend largely on the type of disease and how advanced it is at the time of diagnosis.
Recently published research
GenesisCare doctors and consultants, along with the researchers they collaborate with, are passionate about publishing peer-reviewed research so findings can be shared with the broader medical community. A selection of the most recent publications is listed below:
Cancer: New treatment mix to improve outcomes for elderly brain tumour patients iii
Contributing GenesisCare authors: Dr Michael Fay; A/Prof Michael Back
An international trial published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in March 2017 demonstrated that a new treatment mix can prolong survival for elderly patients with the most common type of brain tumour called glioblastoma. A short course of radiotherapy, in conjunction with an oral chemotherapy drug called temozolomide, resulted in longer survival than radiotherapy alone for patients with glioblastoma aged over 64 years.
Dr Fay hoped that the publication of results in this prominent medical journal would encourage more clinical trials into brain tumours. Read more on our website.
Cancer: Results show promise for shorter radiation therapy treatment time for patients with prostate cancer iv
Contributing GenesisCare authors: A/Prof Jarad M. Martin
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in March showed promising results for prostate cancer patients. Patients whose treatments were compressed from a standard eight weeks of daily treatment down to four weeks had the same cure rate and no difference in side effects, when followed up after 6 years. Longer term follow up is now keenly anticipated.
Cardiology: Real-time cardiology registry can improve patient outcomes v
Contributing GenesisCare authors: A/Prof David Eccleston, Dr Mark Horrigan, Dr Geoffrey Holt, Prof Stephen Worthley, Dr Alan Whelan, Prof Peter L Thompson, Dr Tony Rafter, Dr Peter Sage
The Genesis Cardiovascular Outcomes Registry for percutaneous coronary intervention (GCOR-PCI) describes and measures the quality of interventional cardiology practice in Australian private hospitals. Clinical data describing treatment effectiveness has demonstrated the potential to improve care processes and therefore patient outcomes nationally, as published in the Heart, Lung and Circulation journal in February. Insights from the registry will aid development of future national clinical cardiology registries.
Trials currently underway across our network
Below is just a handful of trials currently underway in the GenesisCare network.
Cardiology: Australia's largest clinical trial that aims to reduce heart attack risk in patients with stable coronary disease
Low-Dose Colchicine for Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
GenesisCare doctors involved: Dr Mark Nidorf, Prof Peter Thompson (both HeartCare WA)
A cost-effective and readily-available medicine that's long been used to treat gout could also be used to prevent cardiovascular events in patients with stable coronary disease - a disease which develops when plaque builds up in the arteries, sometimes leading to a complete blockage and, in turn, a heart attack.
An initial pilot study led by our cardiologists in Perth found that the medicine called colchicine, which can prevent inflammation, could reduce the risk of heart attack in some patients by up to 50%. A larger trial with almost 1,900 patients recruited across Western Australia, and a similar number in the Netherlands, is now underway. Read more on our website.
Cardiology: Trial gives more Australians with atrial fibrillation access to new device
Amplatzer Amulet Left Atrial Appendage Occluder Randomized Controlled Trial
GenesisCare doctors involved: Dr Karen Phillips (HeartCare Partners, Greenslopes Private Hospital, Qld). Prof Steve Worthley (Adelaide Cardiology Practice, St Andrew's Hospital, SA), Dr Vincent Paul (HeartCare WA, St John of God Murdoch - Wexford Medical Centre)
A keyhole procedure using a small, self-expanding implant inside the heart aims to decrease the risk of stroke for patients with the heart condition atrial fibrillation, allowing them to avoid lifelong blood thinners, is being made available to more Australians through this new trial. The research project is comparing two medical devices, both of which are approved for use in Australia, although not widely available. Participants are currently being recruited for this trial (as at May, 2017).
Cancer: Evaluating the effectiveness of a new treatment mix for prostate cancer patients
Enzalutamide in androgen deprivation therapy with radiation therapy for high risk, clinically localised, prostate cancer
Centres involved: See full list online
The study will compare the effectiveness of standard deprivation therapy and radiation therapy combined either with a drug called 'enzalutamide' or with currently available antiandrogen drugs (formerly known as hormone therapy) for improving the survival in men with localised prostate cancer at high risk of recurrence.
For more information on Cancer trials at GenesisCare visit: www.genesiscancercare.com.au/clinicaltrials
i Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government. Downloaded on 9/5/2017 from: http://aihw.gov.au/deaths/life-expectancy/
ii Australian Clinical Trials, Australian Government. Downloaded on 9/5/2017 from: https://www.australianclinicaltrials.gov.au/health-care-providers/why-talk-your-patients-about-clinical-trials
iii Perry J, Laperriere N, O'Callaghan C et al, Short-course radiation plus temozolomide in elderly patients with glioblastoma, N Engl J Med 2017; 376:1027-1037, March 16, 2017, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1611977
iv Catton C, Lukka H, Gu C, Martin J et al, Randomized trial of a hypofractionated radiation regimen for the treatment of localized prostate cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, March 15, 2017, DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2016.71.7397
v Eccleston D, Horrigan M, Rafter T et al, Improving guideline compliance in Australia with a national percutaneous coronary intervention outcomes registry, Heart, Lung and Circulation, February 28, 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.hlc.2017.01.008