Research Areas

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Clinical Pharmacokinetics

Optimisation of drug dosage - e.g. Allopurinol & Febuxostat (gout), Metformin (antidiabetic), Anti-infectives e.g. Gentamicin & Vancomycin (antibiotics) and Ribavirin

Background:

  • There is often a better correlation between patient responses to a drug and  measured drug plasma concentrations than the administered drug dose
  • Many drugs have highly variable pharmacokinetics (plasma concentrations)
  • Optimising drug dosage according to pharmacokinetics is the key to optimising drug effectiveness

Methods:

  • Clinical: Patient recruitment, blood collections
  • Analytical: Chromatography (HPLC), DNA extraction and genetic analysis (SNPs)
  • Data analysis: Computerised PK modelling, simulations and optimising dosing, correlations with patient response 

Decision support: Can we help doctors make better prescribing decisions? 

Background:

  • Medication management in Australian hospitals is shifting from paper to electronic formats, with many hospitals now using electronic prescribing systems 
  • These systems often include computerised alerts, which trigger at the point of prescribing to warn doctors about potential errors in orders 
  • Computerised alerts can help doctors make better prescribing decisions but getting this ‘decision support’ right is tricky 

Research: 

Qualitative methods (e.g. interviewing doctors) combined with quantitative methods (e.g. review of medication charts and alerts) to:

  • Evaluate the current decision support at St Vincent’s Hospital – is it working?
  • Understand what doctors want and need to be better prescribers – how can we help?
  • Test new ways of helping doctors prescribe – what works and what doesn’t? 

 


Can outcomes for gout sufferers be improved with eHealth?

Background:

  • Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. It is characterised by extreme pain and swelling and is caused by a build up of uric acid in the bloodstream.
  • Gout can be successfully managed by drug therapy. However, the prevalence of gout is increasing.
  • A novel IT intervention (a mobile phone app) to support gout management in the community could enhance outcomes for gout sufferers. 


Research:

Qualitative methods (e.g. interviewing doctors and gout patients) to:

  • Understand usability of IT interventions – are patients happy to use an app to manage their condition? Would “gamification” improve user uptake?
  • Designing effective educational materials for GPs on gout.
  • Interviewing gout patients about their treatment satisfaction.
  • Understanding how gout patients with comorbidities view gout in relation to their other conditions.

 


Effect of Paracetamol on myeloperoxidase 

Background:

  • Paracetamol - major analgesic drug
  • Myeloperoxidase - enzyme of neutrophils
  • Myeloperoxidase produces HOCl - tissue oxidant
  • Myeloperoxidase present in atherosclerotic lesions
  • Paracetamol is substrate and inhibitor of myeloperoxidase
  • Paracetamol may decrease atherosclerosis
  • Interactions of paracetamol analogues with myeloperoxidase? 

Methods:

Analytical: Enzyme assay, Chromatography (HPLC), UV spectroscopy, Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

  • Statistical analysis 

 


A critical look at drug development 

Background: 

  •  Increasing prices for cancer medicines challenge our ability to pay for them.
  •  Payers are being challenged to develop news ways for assessing the value of innovative cancer medicines.
  •  There is little agreement about how much these drugs are really worth, and how governments should respond.  

Outline of Project: 

Summarising critical information about cancer medicines subsidised, or denied subsidisation, by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Focus: 

  • Cancer.
  • Access to medicines.
  • Affordability/Reimbursement.
  • Equity.
  •  Influences on the R&D and drug development agenda.
  •  Pharmaceutical policy.