JCU and Mater Hospital join forces for better surgery outcomes
A new research partnership between James Cook University scientists and Mater Hospital Townsville orthopaedic surgeons could dramatically improve knee surgery results.
The Orthopaedic Research Institute of Queensland (ORIQL) based at the Mater is hoping to promote rapid healing and improved mobility after knee surgery using a drug therapy called ALM.
ALM consists of adenosine, lidocaine and magnesium and was developed by JCU’s Professor Geoffrey Dobson.
Professor Dobson, Hayley Letson and their team in the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), College of Medicine and Dentistry, are developing the treatment to stabilise solidiers who have suffered catastrophic blood loss and brain injury on the battlefield.
It’s designed to improve outcomes by resuscitating the heart and reducing ‘secondary-hit’ complications arising from uncontrolled inflammation, coagulopathy and infection.
The collaboration between JCU and the ORIQL targets unmet needs in orthopaedic surgery.
The first study will look into changes in blood coagulation. Utilising the Mater Hospital’s ROTEM system, ICU Director Dr De Wet Potgeiter will look at ways to improve the management of fluids, blood products and anti-fibrinolytics before, during and after surgery.
The Mater was the first hospital north of Brisbane to install a ROTEM system, which is the latest technology in the management of acute bleeding.
The second study will explore new ways to improve knee surgery outcomes.
“The goal is to inject a therapeutic dose of ALM into the intra-articular space following knee surgery to reduce adhesions, and possibly pain, and create a mild inflammatory state to promote rapid healing and restoration of normal tissue architecture,” said Dr Peter McEwen.
Orthopaedic surgeons Dr Peter McEwen, Dr Kaushik Hazratwala and Dr Matthew Wilkinson, established the ORIQL in 2011 to research treatment of degenerative and traumatic disorders of bones and joints with particular focus on conditions which affect the knee. The James Cook University collaborative research is being coordinated by ORIQL’s Andrea Grant.
Dr McEwen said the healing process often results in scar formation, pain and loss of full motion. “Tendon scar is biomechanically inferior to normal tendon,’’ Dr McEwen said.
“New treatment strategies aimed at minimising adhesions and loss of tendon strength have the potential to dramatically improve outcomes,” he said.
Dr McEwen said the partnership with JCU was an exciting collaboration and it’s hoped the research results would rapidly translate into human trials.
JCU Medical School’s MBBS
Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 6 years
Application deadline: TBC. For the 2015 intake, the application deadline was August 29, 2014.