- Eight research projects share $2.1 million in latest round of McGowan Government's Research Translation Projects 2021 program
- Grants of up to $270,000 for projects to improve cost effectiveness and efficiency in the public health system
The McGowan Labor Government has announced eight research projects across Western Australia will share in $2.1 million of funding under the Research Translation Projects (RTP) 2021 program.
Research translation is the means to take research findings into practical applications in hospital settings, creating better outcomes for patients and efficiencies for the health system.
Among the recipients of the $2.1 million of McGowan Government funding is a research project to train artificial intelligence to instantly spot infection in foot x-rays of diabetics.
One Australian loses a limb every three hours to diabetes-related foot disease (DFD) which results in an estimated 4,400 lower limb amputations and 1,700 deaths each year. Delays in treatment for patients with DFD can cause an infection to spread, leading to loss of tissue and amputation of the limb.
The South Metropolitan Health Service study, led by Dr Ashu Gupta, will see artificial intelligence trained to analyse x-rays to rapidly and accurately detect infection and features that in some cases, are invisible to the human eye.
Other important projects that received funding under the RTP 2021 program include:
- Telethon Kids Institute on behalf of The University of Western Australia Centre for Child Health Research: Research towards a strategy for improved follow-up measures for Aboriginal children hospitalised with chest infections;
- Murdoch University: A project to develop user-friendly paper strip-based tests for early diagnosis of neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease (PD); and
- The University of Western Australia: Project Aftermath - State-wide preparedness for antibiotic resistance caused by the impacts of COVID-19 measures.
The RTP 2021 program provides grants of up to $270,000 to short-term projects that demonstrate improved cost-effectiveness and efficiencies for the WA public health system, while maintaining or improving patient outcomes.
The program is funded by the State Government's Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund.
The full list of RTP 2021 program recipients can be found on the FHRI Fund website.
Comments attributed to Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The McGowan Government is committed, through its Future Health Research and Innovation Fund, to provide vital funding for medical researchers to make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of Western Australians.
"With the successful union of x-rays with artificial intelligence, pixel-level information and radiomics will improve diagnostic accuracy and shorten treatment turnaround time.
"It will also provide prognostic information that will benefit the WA public health system.
"A key priority of the McGowan Government's Future Health Research and Innovation Fund is improving health outcomes for the community, and this important research has the power to do that."
Comments attributed to Western Australian Health Translation Network Executive Director Professor Gary Geelhoed:
"This study is an exciting example of the value of research translation. Through the collaboration of researchers and clinicians this innovative use of artificial intelligence has the ability to deliver evidence-based care that offers better outcomes for patients.
"This is an excellent example of research being successfully implemented in practice, resulting in tangible patient and public benefits.
"The benefit of translating innovative research into clinical practice is that it delivers improved patient outcomes, higher-performing and more sustainable health services, and economic benefit for our communities."
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