The Wesfarmers Centre is pleased to announce the successful recipients for the 2018 Round 2 Seed Funding Grants.
The Wesfarmers Centre Scientific Committee collectively scored each grant using the NHMRC project grant criteria, and awarded funds only where it was confident it would lead to a highly competitive grant application (weighted score >5.0).
Ruth Thornton | University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute
Lea-Ann Kirkham (University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute), Peter Richmond (University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children’s Hospital), Jonatan Leffler (Telethon Kids Institute), Allen Ryan (University of California San Diego). Awarded: $28,367.00.
One drop to stop recurrent ear infections: combining an anti-biofilm agent and an antibiotic in a slow release gel to prevent recurrent otitis media.
Over 368 million children <5 years of age experience middle ear infection annually. These infections can cause hearing loss during important years of speech and language development, which can have life-long consequences on hearing and education. For children with chronic and recurrent middle ear infections, surgery for grommet insertion is often required and 1/3 of these children require repeat surgery. Improved treatments are a global priority.
We have shown that bacteria survive within the ears of children, living in sticky glue known as biofilm. Biofilms can be dissolved using Dornase alfa. We have shown that Dornase alfa is safe to use in the middle ear but multiple applications seem to be required to fully dissolve the glue and prevent repeat surgery. In our previous study, parents indicated that post-surgery administration of daily antibiotic drops into their child’s ear is challenging. This proposal builds upon new technology to combine antibiotics and Dornase alfa into a compound that is liquid at room temperature and turns to gel at body temperature. Administration of this gel into the middle ear at the time of surgery enables slow release of contents over 5-10 days. This approach will enable surgeons to co-apply anti-biofilm agents and antibiotic during surgery, removing parental administration of drops.
Chris Blyth | University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children's Hospital, Pathwest
Sarah Doyle (Innovation Fellow, Myer Foundation), Tom Snelling (Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children’s Hospital, Curtin University), Meredith Borland (Perth Children’s Hospital), Andrew Martin (Perth Children’s Hospital), Peter Richmond (University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children’s Hospital), Katherine Barton (Perth Children’s Hospital). Awarded: $19,464.00.
Parental Engagement through Technology Solutions - Pragmatic Adaptive Trial for Respiratory Infection in Children (PETS for PATRIC).
Acute respiratory infection (ARI) is the most common reason for ED presentation or admission in children globally. Despite the enormous burden, treatment guidelines have remained unchanged for decades. Almost all treatment recommendations for ARI have not been tested through clinical trials. Trials conducted in comparable clinical settings are lacking and supportive care trials have been infrequently performed. Despite numerous international professional bodies describing the limited data to inform ARI management guidelines, there has been almost no progress towards evidence-based ARI management. Addressing this lack of evidence remains a priority locally, nationally and globally.
Research has demonstrated that confusion, medication errors and missed appointments are common place in children discharged from EDs and hospitals. There is a critical need to work with parents to improve the quality of information and education provided, thereby improving the outcomes for children with acute medical conditions.
The PATRIC registry and platform trial seeks to answer current and future key questions posed by clinicians managing paediatric ARI. Using hand-held technology, PETS for PATRIC seeks to enhance clinical care, discharge information and treatment compliance for all children presenting with ARI whilst facilitating and encouraging recruitment to a patient registry and clinical trial to inform evidence-based changes in ARI care.
Hannah Moore | Telethon Kids Institute
Lea-Ann Kirkham (University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute), Nicholas de Klerk (Telethon Kids Institute), Tom Snelling (Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children’s Hospital, Curtin University), Chris Blyth (University of Western Australia, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children’s Hospital, Pathwest), Heather Gidding (University of Sydney, National Centre for Immunisation Surveillance), Parveen Fathima (Telethon Kids Institute), Sarah Sheridan (National Centre for Immunisation Surveillance). Awarded: $26,148.00.
Determining the off-target effects of infant vaccines on respiratory infection outcomes in Western Australian children
Respiratory, or chest, infections are a major cause of illness in children. Globally, chest infections are the most common reason for hospitalisation. In Western Australia, 1 in 15 children are admitted to hospital for a chest infection before their 5th birthday. The best way for preventing severe diseases from these infections is vaccination. There are now multiple vaccinations on the National Immunisation Program that target respiratory infections, such as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTPa), and seasonal influenza vaccines. These vaccines have shown health benefits through direct protection of the disease that they are designed to target.
There are emerging data about the positive and negative impacts of vaccinations against other pathogens and diseases suggesting that immunological or microbiological interference is occurring. Given the complexity of the immunisation schedule, it is essential to understand how vaccinating against one pathogen may change the disease that we see caused by other pathogens. These are called “off-target” effects and are best identified when looking at whole populations. Understanding the off-target effects of vaccines has been recognised as an area of international importance and will contribute to developing the best and most cost-effective immunisation schedules possible.