Australia's best clinical trials awarded

Tuesday, 04 June, 2019

Australia's best clinical trials awarded

The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) last month held the 2019 ACTA Trial of the Year Awards, recognising the contribution of investigator-led trials to the health and wellbeing of Australians and improvement to the effectiveness and efficiency of the health system. Professor Anne Kelso, CEO of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), was keynote speaker at the event.

“Clinical trials are vital to ensuring patients receive the best treatments and get the best outcomes,” said ACTA Chair Professor John Zalcberg.

“Effective and efficient treatments not only reduce suffering, they can also mean less time spent receiving treatment and less money spent by the patient and the health system.”

The winner of the 2019 Trial of the Year was the ASPREE trial, which looked at the efficacy of people 70 and above taking aspirin daily in preventing age-related illness including heart attack and dementia.

“A treatment that has almost achieved folkloric popularity was proved to potentially do more harm than good, given that aspirin also increases bleeding,” Prof Zalcberg said. “While aspirin was viewed as a cheap preventative, the ASPREE clinical trial has the potential to keep people from suffering a known side effect caused by taking a treatment we now know doesn’t help.”

The 2019 ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award meanwhile went to the ADRENAL study, which was also a finalist for Trial of the Year and sought to determine whether hydrocortisone improves survival in patients admitted to an ICU with septic shock.

“As well as proving that hydrocortisone reduced the severity and duration of shock, lowered time on life support and meant shorter hospital admissions, the ADRENAL study was the first Australian ICU trial to be included in the Portfolio of the National Institute of Health Research, UK, facilitating UK resource support,” Prof Zalcberg said. “The ADRENAL team also developed and manufactured a GMP-licensed internationally exportable parenteral placebo formulation, creating a valuable resource for future triallists.”

This year also saw the creation of a new award for consumer engagement and involvement with consumers. The winner of the 2019 Consumer Involvement Award, the TORPIDO 30/60 study, wanted to determine which initial concentration of oxygen should be given to preterm babies in the delivery room. Enrolling babies into a study of this nature is complex, so the team invited consumers to be involved in the trial design to assist with ideas to alleviate parental concern and increase the number of babies entered in, and benefiting from, the trial.

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