Research & Ethics

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Medicine

Breast oncology clinical trials has undertaken research at Eastern Health from the Box Hill and Maroondah hospital sites since 1995 and is established as a leading clinical trial group in Australia. The focus of the unit is predominantly phase II to phase IV clinical trials. Locally developed studies and retrospective reviews are also undertaken.

With a number of affiliations including with Deakin University, Monash University, ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group and several international breast cancer clinical trials groups, the breast oncology clinical trials unit is one of the highest recruiters to breast cancer research in Australia.

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The research activities of the cardiology department include pharmaceutical clinical trials, epidemiological and clinical investigator-driven research studies. There is a wide variety of clinical research activities in the areas of novel pharmacological agents and therapeutic devices for patients who have coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disturbances and fainting episodes. The department's further research focus includes primary and secondary prevention of heart disease.

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The Endocrinology and Diabetes department consists of a clinical service working in parallel with the Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU) that operates under the auspices of Monash University. The focus of the unit's research program includes clinical research in gestational diabetes, clinical trials in diabetes management, treatment of diabetes complications and weight control as well as research into the genetic pathology of thyroid cancer.

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The Department of Gastroenterology consists of a clinical service working in parallel with the Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU) operating under the auspices of Monash University. The unit's core research focus includes inflammatory bowel disease, functional bowel disease and viral hepatitis. The department engages in an ongoing process of audits in endoscopy to assess quality service delivery benchmarked against peers and participates in cutting edge clinical trials and pharmaceutical-sponsored clinical trials of new drugs.

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The geriatric medicine aged care research and academic team holds affiliations with Monash University together with other Melbourne, national and international universities and agencies with a focus on a wide range of activities including research and education. The research focus spans a range of issues that are typically considered to be at the core of healthcare provision, such as prescribing for older people and the comprehensive assessment of older people in hospital, to issues that are of a broader social nature such as driving safety in older people and the protection of older people's financial assets.

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The Haematology research unit is primarily a clinical trials unit conducting both pharmaceutical sponsored studies and investigator-driven studies including collaborative research in all fields of haematology. The unit works in parallel with the Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU). The unit is aligned with the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases and the Australian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group and conducts studies in non malignant and malignant diseases of the blood.

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Eastern Health intensive care medicine actively participates in multicentre trials run by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Clinical Trial Group as well as pursues 'home grown' research and pharmaceutical clinical trials.

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The Department of Renal Medicine research reflects a collaborative approach between Eastern Health and Monash University. Established in 2009, the Department's laboratory research focus includes the role of fibroblast growth factor 23 and other calcification markers in kidney disease, and novel aspects of proteinuria in chronic kidney disease and in pregnancy/pre-eclampsia. It has more recently extended to changes in vascular biology in kidney disease, including study of the endothelial glycocalyx. Clinical projects relate to a broad range of renal-related topics, including cardiovascular complications of chronic kidney disease, home dialysis therapies, kidney transplant, anaemia, and iron therapy.

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Eastern Health Neurosciences research service runs in parallel with Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU) Monash University. Clinical services include the sub-specialties of stroke, multiple sclerosis, cognitive disorders and epilepsy. The unit's research focus spans across all sub-specialties and includes laboratory-based scientific research, pharmaceutical clinical trials, and epidemiological and clinical investigator-driven research studies. Research into acute stroke care is a primary focus, in particular brain imaging in patients receiving stroke thrombolysis.

The MS Service focus has evolved around the novel oral medication fingolimod with studies related to the cardiac side effects, and the long-term safety and efficacy of fingolimod in a randomised control trial in primary progressive MS. The cognitive disorders and the epilespsy streams of research primary focus is on clinical trial participation researching a drug that potentially provides 'passive immunity' in Alzeimers disease. In epilepsy, chronic disease management and rapid assessment of first seizures in epilepsy continues to be the divisions focus.

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ECRU Oncology Clinical Trials under the auspice of Monash University is based at Box Hill Hospital. The unit conducts both investigator and pharmaceutical clinical trials in a variety of tumors including lung, melanoma, upper gastrointestinal, colorectal, genitourinary, gynaecological cancers and sarcoma. Studies are mostly Phase II or Phase III large collaborative studies with clinical studies streamlined into tumour streams.

 

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The Eastern Health Palliative Care Service actively participates in research activity and has an active and enthusiastic research committee which has links with Deakin University, Centre for Palliative Care Education and Research and palliative care units across Australia. Research outcomes of the service are resulting in service improvements specifically focussed on the quality of patient care.

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Rehabilitation medicine research was established at Eastern Health in 2011 following the development of inpatient programs as defined units lead by rehabilitation physicians providing opportunities to commence a focus on clinical research. While still in its infancy strong research links have been established with the Eastern Health Allied Health Clinical Research Centre together with La Trobe University, St Vincent's Health and the Victorian Stroke Clinical Network.

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The Respiratory and Sleep Medicine department has research interests in a wide range of clinical respiratory conditions and has research supported through the Eastern Clinical Research Unit (ECRU) that operates under the auspices of Monash University
Clinical trials are conducted in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease and sleep apnoea. There are also research interests in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for respiratory disease and functional lung imaging and research further extends to sleep medicine and non-invasive ventilation.

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Rheumatology is one of the smallest medical specialties within Eastern Health and actively collaborates with other specialties including dermatology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, orthopaedics and internal medicine within Eastern Health by participating in multicentre studies and clinical trials.

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More than 20 registrars and residents annually engage in research projects through the Eastern Health Surgical research group.
Research activity of the unit has included pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; an objective assessment of laparoscopic surgical skill by looking at an edited video recording of laparoscopic cholecystectomy; and the effect of pancreatic cancer on pancreatic exocrine function and the possible side effects of exocrine insufficiency on patient wellbeing.

Contact us: research@easternhealth.org.au