Griffith and Gold Coast Health sign MoU to increase clinical trial capacity

Investigating a treatment for Ross River virus infection is just one of the clinical research trials underway at Griffith University’s Clinical Trials Unit designed to improve patient care and health outcomes on the Gold Coast.

It’s an arrangement made possible by the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between Griffith and Gold Coast Health.

The trial – being run for Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals – is one of several commercially sponsored trials being undertaken at Griffith’s Clinical Trials Unit. The trial is hoping to show that the tested intervention may be useful in providing relief from the often excruciating joint pain associated with Ross River virus infection, which has impacted an average of 220 Gold Coasters each year over the past five years.

Gold Coast Health rheumatologist, Associate Professor Jenni Ng is the principal investigator for the trial.

“It’s a great thing for the Gold Coast community to have access to clinical trials that might improve their health outcomes, like this double blind, placebo controlled study for a new treatment for the Ross River virus,” Dr Ng said.

Improve patient care and health outcomes

Director of Griffith’s Clinical Trials Unit, Associate Professor Evelin Tiralongo says the new agreement will lead to increased clinical trial capacity in the region and will ultimately improve patient care and health outcomes for Gold Coasters.

“This mutually beneficial agreement between Griffith and Gold Coast Health offers different opportunities of collaboration for academic and clinic staff on clinical trials increasing their skills and expertise, and will enable both the health service and Griffith to be involved in high end translational research for the benefit of the Gold Coast community.

“It’s a two way process with possibilities to refer trials to the hospital and for the hospital to engage Griffith’s Clinical Trial Unit for trial coordination and facilities.

“Currently Griffith’s clinical trial unit is conducting 10 clinical trials for commercial sponsors of which three include clinicians from the Gold Coast University Hospital as principal investigators,” says Associate Professor Tiralongo.

“With this MOU in place we expect the Gold Coast Health clinicians’ involvement to increase substantially.”

This MOU will be highlighted at the Gold Coast Health Research Week Conference which starts 27 November with a pre-conference evening hosted by Griffith’s MHIQ and the official opening conducted Tuesday morning.

The program offers sessions and opportunities for collaborative discussion and networking between clinicians and academics. Griffith’s Clinical Trial Unit will also be present.

Dr Greta Ridley from the Office for Research Governance and Development at Gold Coast Health said increasing our capacity for quality research is a key priority for the health service.

“The more our doctors, nurses and allied health professionals can collaborate with academic partners on clinical research, the better our health service performance will be due to our staff increasing their skills and experience in clinical research and our service delivery being underpinned by research evidence”.

Griffith’s clinical trial research and academic expertise, together with the world-class clinical capability of Gold Coast Health and access to patients seen through the Gold Coast University Hospital, positions the 200-hectare Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct as a leading emerging hub for clinical trials and health and medical commercial development.