Monday, 27 March 2017

Clinical trials provide financial reward to hospitals and cutting edge treatments

Clinical trials patient Mr Sin 
Monash Haematology researchers have demonstrated that clinical trials not only benefit patients but provide a significant financial boost to the hospital system as well.

The Haematology Research Unit at Monash Health provides treatment and follow up care for nearly 400 patients every year, many participating in clinical trials.

“We treat a wide variety of blood cancer and non-cancer haematology patients, including chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, follicular lymphoma, B cell lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia, chronic and acute myeloid leukemia, T cell lymphoma and more,” said Head of the Department of Haematology Professor Stephen Opat.

A recent report by the Haematology Research Unit shows that providing clinical trials to patients has a positive effect on Monash Health’s bottom line, as well as offering cutting-edge treatments that may not otherwise be available.

Mr Sin with Clinical Trials Coordinator Ms Liz Coughlin
Monash Haematology patient Mr Yoeun Sin has Waldenstrom Macroblobulinemia, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Mr Sin is the first patient in the world to receive an experimental drug (BGB3111) to treat the disease.

Professor Opat said Mr Sin is a typical Monash patient whose previous two treatments had failed,  and thanks to the clinical trial, his experimental treatment had been life changing.

“I feel very honoured and grateful for being the first person to receive BGB3111—without this drug I’m not too sure where or how I’d be in terms of health,” said Mr Sin.

Mr Sin said the opportunity to take part in the clinical trial has given him another chance at life.
“I now feel full of life and filled with energy. Taking BGB3111 has given me the opportunity to do more with the amount of time I have left...which I hope is a long time,” he said. 

Professor Opat said the Haematology Research Unit operates on a self-funded model, supporting the wages of all staff and covering all treatment and follow-up care related costs of patients.

“The patients treated or managed in our unit are in effect, taken out of the Monash Health care network in relation to the costs that would normally be associated with their treatment and care,” said Professor Opat.

In order to demonstrate their savings, the Haematology Research Unit selected 25 patients who were treated and commenced follow up for various haematological malignancies in the 2015-2016 financial year, and calculated the costs that would have been associated with these patients had they received standard of care treatment through the public health system at Monash Health.

Professor Opat said that by treating, and providing follow up care for this selection of 25 patients, the Haematology Research Unit relieved the Health care network of $843,363.80 of funding that would be required to care for these patients over their treatment and standard 5 year follow up periods.

“$759,333 of this cost is relieved in the first year while patients are having treatment, and $713,862 being pharmacy related costs.” 

“Our Unit in fact treated and provided follow up care for 86 patients with haematological malignancies in the 2015-2016 financial year, so we estimate the financial relief to Monash Health for the treatment period alone, could be as high as $2,612,105,” said Professor Opat.

These figures don’t take into account the further financial benefit due to the treatment, management and care of the 254 non-oncology haematology patients during the same period.

Professor Opat said he is exceptionally proud of the work that his Unit continues to do, the quality with which we do it, and the savings that we continue to make toward the health care network.

Haematology Clinical Trial Unit Managers Ms Micheleine Uhe and Ms Jeanette Gamgee attribute the success of the Unit to the dedication of their extremely efficient and hard-working team.

SCS student wins top prize in Immunology

SCS PhD student Ms Heidi Fettke
Congratulations Heidi Fettke, a translational PhD student at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), who has been awarded the prestigious Nairn Prize in Immunology.

The Nairn Prize is given to the top Honours student each year enrolled in immunology at Monash University.

Heidi was awarded the Nairn Prize in Immunology for her Bachelor of Science (Honours) project, where she investigated the potential role of the c-Myc oncogene in driving expression of an immuno-inhibitory molecule, PD-L1, in glioblastoma tumours (a lethal brain cancer).  Heidi completed her project under the supervision of Professor Terrance Johns, Centre for Cancer Research at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

Heidi is currently researching biomarkers in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer under the supervision of Associate Professor Arun Azad, Department of Medicine.

Monash Children's Hospital Community Open Day (2 April): VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We need your help to make the Community Open Day a success.  Volunteers are required as tour marshals, for registrations, event precinct marshals, car parking marshals, kids zone/activities and pre-event set up.

This will be the first time the new Monash Children's Hospital is open to the public.  Let's work together to ensure this historic event is a memorable one.

To be part of this landmark event, register your interest to volunteer HERE:

Annual Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Student Symposium – 1st June, Save the Date!

2018 Honours & Graduate Research recruitment - please update your research projects in the Faculty's database

The SCS Communications office is coordinating marketing materials for the production of 2018 SCS Postgraduate and Honours Research Projects booklet.  The projects will be advertised for recruitment of students for the following streams:
  • Bachelor of Medical Science Honours
  • Bachelor of Science Honours
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science Honours
  • Bachelor of Nutrition Honours
  • Bachelor of Behavioural Neuroscience Honours
  • Graduate Research (Masters and PhD)
To ensure we only have current projects advertised, previously entered projects have all been ‘unpublished’ in the database.  Could ALL Supervisors please submit their project information via the Faculty project database:
Go to “Supervisor login” listed on the top tab and type in your monash username and authcate. 
1.  To enter a new project:  Go to “CREATE ENTRY” enter project details and ensure to SAVE each entry. 
2.  To edit or re-publish existing projects that were offered in 2017 (or earlier), go to the “MY ENTRIES”  tab and select your project and select edit mode, then publish. 
Please note that all previous project entries are by default available. 
 Under “OFFER STATUS”, you can select:
  • Leave as Offered (to make the project current).
  • Or select Archived (if you wish the project to remain visible to the public in site searches but is not offered).
For PUBLISHING options:
  • Select Publish to publish your project.  
  • Uncheck the “PUBLISHED” box, if you want these projects archived in the database and not be visible to the public. 
You can re-publish the project at any time.
The first student information session is scheduled for 15 May, so we ask that you update your projects by Monday 1st May 2017.
To support the promotion of the GR and Honours degree programs, the following student  information sessions are organised for potential Honours and PhD students.  Having all projects advertised well in advance of this will assist with course enquiries.
  • Bachelor of Medical Science (honours) information night: Monday 15 May 2017, Time to be advised, Clayton campus – Anthony White / Pianca Schwarz to coordinate SCS representation at Clayton.
  • SCS/Hudson Honours and GR information night: TBC at Clayton campus and MHTP
Note that all course enquiries are directed to

We look forward to receiving your Honours and GR project descriptions for 2018 soon. If you have any questions about how the Faculty research project database works please contact Katherine Greenberg ( or ph 85722595   or Vithya Premkumar (

Are you interested in medical technology? Want to meet potential collaborators?

MYMIC is a community which aims to provide a friendly and inviting platform for early career interdisciplinary researchers and students who are interested in various aspects of medical technology.

Our main goals & objectives include:

      Support collaboration between researchers from different fields of medicine and technology,
 Organise internships/work experience and opportunities for graduates and researchers,
      Organise site visits to leading Medtech companies in Melbourne,
      Provide forums for informal discussions on topics of interest,
     Hosting social events as well as extensive professional development and networking opportunities, and many more!

To become a member and hear about our upcoming events, please email or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn or check our website :

ARMS 2017 – Poster Abstract Submissions: Closing 17 April – Don’t miss out!

This year’s ARMS Conference theme is ‘Funding Research – Drawing on the Power of Collaboration’, and submissions are now open for Poster Abstracts. Submissions must include:
  • A short title - up to twenty (20) words
  • Presenter’s name(s) (please identify which presenter is nominated for contact)
  • Presenters contact details including institution, address, email address and telephone number
  • Abstract to clearly outline the topic being covered (max 250 wds)
  • Indication of preferred presentation format (theme leader, oral presenter, poster presenter or pre-conference workshop presenter).
As the 2017 Poster Session ARMS Partner, we are keen to encourage and support all Monash staff interested in submitting a poster for display. All applicants accepted will be provided with a private group session to help fine tune their posters for display at the Conference in September. Additionally one successful applicant will have their 2017 ARMS Conference registration paid for in full.

The 2017 ARMS Conference is being held in Wellington, New Zealand from 26 – 29 September.

Information on how to submit a poster abstract can be found on the ARMS website here