MTPConnect supports the launch of Clinical Trials initiative for International Clinical Trials Day

16 May 2018

MTPConnect – the Australian Government’s Medical Technology, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical (MTP) Industry Growth Centre – is excited to support the launch of a new Australian initiative ‘Clinical Trials: Impact & Quality’ (CT:IQ), an inclusive collaboration to ensure the effective and efficient promotion of clinical trials in Australia. A recipient of MTPConnect’s Project Fund Program, the CT:IQ initiative aligns with MTPConnect’s key sector priorities to ensure Australia not only maintains, but improves its current position as a world-leading clinical trial destination.

The CT:IQ initiative was launched in conjunction with the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) 2018 National Tribute and Awards Ceremony today, to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day 2018 on May 20. CT:IQ’s aims to develop and implement recommendations that will improve the impact, quality and efficiency of clinical trials, leading to more rapid, lower cost and higher quality evaluation of healthcare interventions in Australia. CT:IQ’s consortium members include Bellberry, Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA), the National Health and Medical Research Clinical Trials Centre (NHMRC CTC) and The George Institute. ACTA will represent the interests of the clinical trial networks and will work collaboratively with the CT:IQ to ensure that activities between the two organisations are complimentary.

Dr Sandhya Tewari, General Manager for International and Government at MTPConnect, said it is an exciting time to celebrate and reflect on the achievements for clinical trials in Australia.

“MTPConnect is delighted to be involved in the CT:IQ initiative. International Clinical Trials Day provides us with an excellent opportunity to sit back and take stock of our unique capabilities and successes in Australia. The number of clinical trials conducted in Australia is growing roughly by 5 per cent per year, outpacing growth in the US, UK and even the global average,” Dr Tewari said.

“International Clinical Trials Day also provides the perfect opportunity for the sector to come together and look at areas for improvement. The CT:IQ project is a fantastic example of collaboration between the sector, working effectively to drive further growth and development, and secure Australia’s place as a preferred destination for clinical trials.”

To date, MTPConnect has funded 34 national and industry-led, dollar-for-dollar matched projects, with over 200 consortium members, which all creatively address barriers to growth in the MTP sector. These include four projects which focus on facilities to produce products at low volumes for clinical trials, four projects to assist patient recruitment for clinical trials and one project focused on upskilling graduates with clinical trials specific workforce skills.

Leading clinicians, health sector organisations, consumer representatives and Government joined together at the Royal Melbourne Hospital today to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day 2018 and pay tribute to the remarkable Australians who make ground-breaking clinical trials possible. Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP presented the winners of the annual ACTA Trial of the Year awards, now in its third year, recognising the outstanding achievements in investigator-initiated clinical trials.

The winners and finalist clinical trials are as follows:

  • Australian Placental Transfusion, Winner of the Trial of the Year – a trial that will lead to significant improvements in premature infant health simply by “waiting a minute” during delivery
  • N3RO, Winner of the ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award – a trial demonstrating that large doses of omega-3 fish oil, previously thought to protect premature babies against chronic lung disease, does not do so and may be counterproductive
  • TRANSFUSE Trial, finalist for the Trial of the Year Award – a trial demonstrating that blood transfusions using blood stored for up to the standard maximum of 42 days is just as beneficial or better for patient outcomes as using “fresher” blood
  • PRECISE Trial, finalist for Trial of the Year and Honourable Mention in ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award – a trial showing that a common nerve pain medication, pregabalin, prescribed for people suffering from sciatica does not reduce severity of leg pain or improve other health outcomes. It also demonstrated a higher risk of side effects such as dizziness

The winner of the 2018 Trial of the Year Award is the Australian Placental Transfusion (APT) Trial which is the largest ever randomised controlled trial of delayed placental cord-clamping for premature infants.

“ACTA is delighted to honour the APT trial investigators and coordinators with this award. The trial is of exceptional standard, addresses a critical gap in evidence, and will significantly improve premature infant health outcomes,” said ACTA Chair, Professor John Zalcberg.

On May 20 each year, International Clinical Trials Day commemorates the day that James Lind began his trials into the causes of scurvy. Lind's experiments were conducted in 1747, where he served as a surgeon on the HMS Salisbury, and started his trial with just twelve men, grouped into pairs and given a variety of dietary supplements from cider to oranges and lemons. The trial only lasted six days but, within that time, there was a noticeable improvement in the group eating the fruit, providing Lind with evidence of the link between citrus fruits and scurvy.