23 February 2012

Clinical research boost at RMIT Bundoora

A new Clinical Research Facility at RMIT University’s Bundoora campus is set to become a northern suburbs hub for community-based clinical trials.

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Daine Alcorn, Whittlesea Mayor, Councillor Stevan Kozmevski, ASPREE Executive Officer, Dr Robyn Woods, and ASPREE Principal Investigator, Professor John McNeil.

Professor Alcorn speaking at the launch.

Volunteers from the local area attended the launch at RMIT Bundoora.

The facility will host the largest primary prevention aspirin study ever undertaken in older Australians – the Monash University-led ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) study – and will also host two RMIT-led clinical trials, TARGET-Diabetes and DAIRY-FIT.

Whittlesea Mayor Stevan Kozmevski officially launched the facility and the commencement of ASPREE in the northern suburbs at RMIT Bundoora this week.

The ASPREE study, which is investigating if daily low-dose aspirin can help maintain good physical and mental health in the elderly, aims to have 12,500 healthy participants aged 70-plus in Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and South Australia by mid-2013.

TARGET-Diabetes is a project funded by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust, which will provide evidence to guide the clinical management of heart medication in people living with diabetes.

The DAIRY-FIT project, funded by the Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium and led by RMIT Professor John Hawley, is investigating the role of dairy-rich products and exercise in healthy weight loss.

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Daine Alcorn, said the projects exemplified the University’s vision for research as global, urban and connected.

“We hope these three important studies will be the first of many such global, partnered clinical research projects that will make a difference to the health of people in our communities,” Professor Alcorn said.

“The launch of this facility at Bundoora represents a new approach to clinical research, which has until now, been largely restricted to the hospital setting.

“In creating a research facility that is situated in and partnered with the community, which will involve local GPs, nurses and pharmacists, we will be involving those who matter most – the local community and the people whose lives stand to be changed by the results of the research we undertake here.”

Dr Matthew Linden, principal investigator and manager of the new Clinical Research Facility, said RMIT was creating a new focus on community-based clinical research in the northern suburbs.

“ASPREE, TARGET-Diabetes and the DAIRY-FIT projects are great examples of the type of collaborative, community research that will be supported by RMIT through this landmark new facility,” Dr Linden said.

Principal Investigator to ASPREE, Professor John McNeil, said the study would provide new and extremely relevant information on whether aspirin can help prevent or delay the onset of common age related disease, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and some cancers.

“The ASPREE study will determine if aspirin can help keep older people healthier for longer and if it should be routinely taken or not,” Professor McNeil said.

The ASPREE northern hub encompasses Banyule, Darebin, Diamond Valley, Moreland, Nillumbik and Whittlesea. Almost 6000 participants are currently enrolled in the trial nationally.

For more information about the research facility or any of the RMIT-led projects call (03) 9925 7028.

To find out more about the ASPREE study call 1800 728 745 or visit the ASPREE website.

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