Monday, 19 March 2018

Australian-first heart implant at MonashHeart offers hope to cardiac patients

Dr Jeffrey Alison
In an Australian-first, a team at MonashHeart have fitted a heart failure patient with the world’s only wirelessly powered cardiac pacing device.

The size of a grain of rice, the device is being trialled in heart failure patients who have failed to respond to, or are otherwise unable to receive, conventional pacemakers.

MonashHeart cardiologist Dr Jeffrey Alison leads the Cardiac Rhythm Management research team within Monash Cardiovasular Research Centre, Monash University, and performed the Australian-first procedure earlier this month at Monash Medical Centre.

“Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands,” Dr Alison said.

“A progressive, debilitating disease, heart failure often occurs when electrical signals within the heart are disrupted, causing the heart’s ventricles to beat in an uncoordinated or unsynchronized pattern, which in turn enlarges the left ventricle and makes the heart less efficient.”

Without therapy, people with heart failure deteriorate and may eventually die of the condition.
Dr Alison said that cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) offers a proven treatment for heart failure by electrically stimulating the heart, but as many as 30 percent of heart failure patients receiving conventional CRT do not respond to the treatment.

 “This new wireless device known as WiSE™ (Wireless Stimulation Endocardially) is designed to improve the heart’s pumping ability and help overcome symptoms of heart failure.”

Rather than using pacing leads—decades‐old technology with well‐documented problems—WiSE paces the heart via a tiny wireless electrode, implanted directly in the heart’s left ventricle.

This approach provides the cardiologist greater choice of pacing locations, enabling patient-specific customisation of pacing site,” Dr Alison said. 

“It also eliminates the need for a pacing wire on the outside of the heart’s left ventricle that can have associated problems.”

“MonashHeart and Monash Cardiovascular Research Centre are thrilled to participate in this landmark clinical trial that builds on previous positive results of this first-of-its-kind innovation for heart failure patients, and offers new hope for our patients,” Dr Alison said.

The clinical trial known as SOLVE-CRT (Stimulation of the Left Ventricular Endocardium for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) will enrol a total of 350 heart failure patients across 45 sites in the US, Europe and Australia.

Monash research will inform best treatment options for kidney transplant patients

Associate Professor Bill Mulley
Monash Health nephrologist Dr Bill Mulley has two reasons to smile: he’s been recognised for his research at Monash University with an academic promotion, and has been awarded a National Blood Authority grant to further his research into kidney transplantation.

Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor Mulley was recently awarded a National Blood Sector Research and Development Pilot Grant worth $450,000 to investigate therapies to improve outcomes in renal transplant patients who experience chronic rejection.

“Chronic antibody mediated rejection (cAMR) is the major cause of kidney transplant failure in the long-term, and currently there are no proven therapies for this type of rejection,” Associate Professor Mulley said.

Associate Professor Mulley is leading a randomised trial to assess whether intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is better than standard treatment for cAMR.

“Patients who are diagnosed with cAMR will be randomised to receive this therapy or not over a 12 month period, with efficacy judged by kidney biopsies and blood measurement of kidney function,” he said.

“If the treatment is found to be effective it is likely to be adopted as a standard of care treatment.”

“Also if there is improvement with IVIg, future studies will build on this one with additional therapies added to IVIg to attempt to further improve outcomes,” Associate Professor Mulley said.

Associate Professor Mulley designed and commenced this previously unfunded study at Monash Health five years ago.

“This grant allows the study to be implemented at multiple Australian sites, thereby increasing recruitment and providing significant data that can help further understanding in this field,” he said.

“cAMR is a large problem and having some evidence-based guidance will be very useful for all transplant clinicians, and most importantly will benefit patients.”

New edition of Monash Paediatric Emergency Medication Book released

The second edition of the “Paediatric Emergency Medication Book” has just been released.

Published by Monash Health, the book is a weight-based guide to medication doses for resuscitation and intubation, and emergency management of seizures, arrhythmias, sepsis, asthma, anaphylaxis and electrolyte disorders.

The book, a collaborative effort between Paediatric Emergency Physician and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Simon Craig and Nicole Dirnbauer, Assistant Deputy Director of Pharmacy, Monash Children's Services, is an update of the original 2014 release. 

Major changes in the new edition include additional sections on acute behavioural disturbance and procedural sedation / premedication. Additional content has also been added for treatment of acute gastrointestinal bleeding, as well as peripheral administration of vasoactive drugs.

Associate Professor Simon Craig
“Resuscitation of a young child is a rare event, and can be highly stressful,” said Dr Craig. 

“Children require weight-based dosing of all emergency medications, however, most staff are unfamiliar with the necessary drug calculations,
and serious medication errors can occur.”

 “We developed the book in response to a critical incident relating to a significant medication error a few years ago. Since then, the book has been purchased by hospitals all over Australia, and has been adopted by Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) Australia. The new edition is based upon feedback from doctors and nurses who use the resource in a variety of clinical settings.”

Ms Nicole Dirnbauer
Proceeds from the book’s sales are used to support the Monash Children’s Paediatric Resuscitation Committee and Paediatric Emergency Medicine research at Monash Health.

You can order a copy of the book HERE.

Collaboration and funding opportunity with GSK to discover compounds against therapeutic targets

As part of Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) team at GSK, we are looking to find collaborations through the Discovery Fast Track Challenge with investigators at Universities and Institutes in Australia.  

We are looking to identify targets/pathways where there is a strong therapeutic rationale that modulation of the target will have benefit in patients with unmet medical need.  Winners of the challenge, will collaborate with GSK scientists to have their target of interest screened at GSK against the GSK compound collections and up to $75,000AUD will be available to researchers to support the collaboration.   Successful teams will receive compounds to progress their research and in some cases, academic researchers may get the opportunity to form a further collaboration with GSK that if successful, will continue through to launch of the medicine.

Dr Duncan Holmes and Dr Andy Pope from DPAc will be visiting Melbourne on the 22nd and 23rd of March to present the Challenge and will be available to answer questions. 

The seminar dates and venues are listed below and please follow links to register

Thursday 22nd March, 4.00pm – 6.00pm – SEMINAR 1
Location:  Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, 1G Royal Parade, Parkville VIC
Register here

Friday 23rd March – 9:30am – 11:30am – SEMINAR 2 
Location:  Seminar room at the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, The Alfred, 89 Commercial Rd, Melbourne VIC
Register here

Friday 23rd March – 1.40pm – 2:40pm – SEMINAR 3 
Location: Level 3 Seminar Room, 15 Innovation Walk, Clayton campus of Monash University,  Scenic Blvd, Clayton VIC
Register by emailing 

Information on the challenge is available HERE and on the website but for specific information please contact Chacko Joseph at   or

qPCR Users:Transition to QuantStudio60-Hudson Medical Genomics Platform, seminar on 23 March & 9 April

The qPCR 7900HT systems have serviced us well since 2006, however, following notification from Thermofisher Scientific that they intend to phase out service support for the 7900HT instruments this year, we will be replacing these system with new Quantstudio 6 real time instruments. Quantstudio 6 instruments will support 384 well format runs and whilst the software is similar, training will be required prior to booking the system or commencing use.
All current users of the qPCR 7900HT system and new Quantstudio 6 users are required to please attend one of the following seminars presented by Life Technologies (attendance will be recorded as your induction to the new system):

10am to 11am – Seminar room 1 - TRF level 2

Friday March 23rd  OR  Monday – April 9th

Grand Rounds, "“Sodium glucose transporter inhibitor induced euglycaemic ketosis”, 21 March

Dr Sonali Shah presents “Sodium glucose transporter inhibitor induced euglycaemic ketosis”

12.30-1.30pm, 21 March, Lecture theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre

Department of Medicine Scientific Seminar, “Effector T cell-mediated injury in the glomerulus- A moving picture with an unhappy ending”, 12 April

12-1pm, Thursday 12 April, Seminar room 3, TRF level 2

Professor A Richard Kitching and Professor Michael Hickey present:

“Effector T cell-mediated injury in the glomerulus- A moving picture with an unhappy ending”

Professor A Richard Kitching - Centre for Inflammatory
Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences
Professor A Richard Kitching is a physician-scientist in the Department of Medicine. He heads a group working in defining how the immune system can injury the kidney in disease. He is the Director of the Monash Centre for Inflammatory Diseases. His research focuses on understanding the involvement of leukocytes (white blood cells) in glomerulonephritis, an important cause of kidney disease, so that more targeted and effective treatments can be developed and used.

Professor Michael Hickey - Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences
Professor Michael Hickey says leukocytes, or white blood cells, are both the good and bad guys of our immune system. While these cells are critical to our ability to fight infections and heal our tissues after injury, they are also responsible for some of the most debilitating inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory kidney disease. Michael’s laboratory investigates the behaviour of leukocytes in inflamed tissues and the blood vessels that supply them, using highly advanced microscopes to visualise white blood cells in tissues. The overall approach of the laboratory stems from the idea that only by directly visualising white blood cells in action can we aim to understand how they contribute to inflammatory diseases, and thereby identify new ways to tackle these conditions.

Hudson seminar: “Let's talk about sex: an evolutionary perspective”, 22 March

This week's Hudson seminar will be held Thursday 22nd March 12pm-1pm in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building. 
Our speaker will be A/Prof Bob Wong, School of BIological Sciences, Monash University.

He will be presenting “Let's talk about sex: an evolutionary perspective”

Bob Wong is an Associate Professor in Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology in the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University.  His research focuses on the evolution of animal mating systems and behaviour, and how investment in sex influences reproductive strategies and biological diversity. Research in his group encompasses a wide range of species, from insects and lizards to fish and humans.

The pursuit of sex is a potent evolutionary force, responsible for much of the weird and wonderful diversity of life on Earth –from the tail of the peacock to the complex genitalia of insects. Sexual reproduction can also be the source of considerable evolutionary conflict between males and females (including in humans). This talk will discuss how fundamental differences in male and female gametes have led to an asymmetry between the sexes in the allocation of resources into mating and offspring.It will examine how the divergent evolutionary interests of males and females can influence individual reproductive success and offspring quality, and how the pursuit of reproductive opportunities by members of one sex can result in harm to the other. Within that context, the talk will explore the role of sexual conflict in shaping human reproduction and behaviour, its influence on modern human society, and potential implications for medical research.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

Hudson seminar series schedule, March-April

Postgraduate Publication Award (PPA) - applications close 1 April

Applications for Round 2, 2018 of the Postgraduate Publication Award (PPA) close 1 April. Students submitting their thesis between 1 April and 30 June are strongly encouraged to apply. The PPA awards students a living allowance for up to 8 weeks. 

More information HERE.

2018 HISS Committee

Poornima Wijayaratne

The Hudson Institute Student Society (HISS) has successfully elected a new committee for 2018 and can announce that  Poornima Wijayaratne has been elected as their brand new president!  She will be the point of contact for all HISS related matters henceforth. 

Here is the list of the 2018 HISS Committee:

President - Poornima Wijayaratne
Vice Presidents - Aidan Kashyap and Lachlan McMillan
Secretaries - Chong Wai Chin + another student (just waiting on confirmation)
Treasurers - Annie Cox and Sebastian Quezada
Creative officers - Mikee Inocencio and Rama 

ECR reps - Michelle Chonwerawong and TBA 

Centre Reps
CCR - Quinton Luong
CIIID - James Ong, Cindy H and Raissa W
TRC - Tayla Penny and Kelsee Shepherd
SCS - Christie (N&D) and Sarah (N&D).  

Celebrate Health and Wellbeing Week 19-23 March

Alcohol consumption is putting our lives at risk

Diana Egerton-Warburton reported in The Australian.

Read article here.

Time to Open Our Eyes? A Challenge to the Role of Polysomnography for Trials in Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Gillian Nixon et al. published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Read article here.

Characteristics of Epileptiform Discharge Duration and Interdischarge Interval in Genetic Generalized Epilepsies

Udaya Seneviratne et al. published in Frontiers in Neurology.

Read article here.

Bortezomib plus EPOCH is effective as frontline treatment in patients with plasmablastic lymphoma

George Grigoriadis et al. published in the British Journal of Haematology.

Read article here.

Genome-wide average DNA methylation is determined in utero

Melissa Southey et al. published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Read article here.

Morbidity from in-hospital complications is greater than treatment failure in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia

Tony Korman et al. published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Read article here.

Comparison of the longitudinal effects of persistent periodic breathing and apnoea on cerebral oxygenation in term and preterm-born infants

Flora Wong et al. published in the Journal of Physiology.

Read article here.

Seroresponses and safety of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in kidney transplant recipients

Claire Dendle et al. published in Transplant Infectious Disease.

Read article here.

Idiopathic infertility in women is associated with distinct changes in proliferative phase uterine fluid proteins

Harriet Fitzgerald et al. published in Biology of Reproduction.

Read article here.

Symptom attribution and treatment seeking in Australian veterans

David Clarke et al. published in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Read article here.