News in brief: Haematologist receives $5 million NHMRC Research Excellence Award; DOAC no better than DAPT after transcatheter procedures; HSANZ opens applications for scholarships

Thursday, 7 Apr 2022

Haematologist receives $5 million NHMRC Research Excellence Award

Professor Andrew Roberts, Cancer Theme Leader at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, has received the NHMRC Fiona Stanley Synergy Grant Award for research into new ways of preventing or overcoming treatment resistance and improving outcomes for patients with leukaemias, lymphomas and myeloma.

The five-year $5 million grant will fund a collaborative research team led by Professor Roberts involving Dr Mary Ann Anderson, Dr Piers Blombery, Associate Professor Gemma Kelly, Dr Enid Lam, Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins, Professor David Huang, Professor Constantine Tam and Professor Andrew Wei.

According to the NHMRC, Professor Roberts’s multifaceted team of laboratory and clinical scientists “will integrate clinical and preclinical studies to accelerate discovery of the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies for blood cancers and generate potential solutions for later clinical testing.”

Professor Andrew Roberts is also the Metcalf Chair of Leukaemia Research at the University of Melbourne and a clinical haematologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

DOAC no better than DAPT after transcatheter procedures

A DOAC-based strategy was no more effective than conventional antithrombotic strategies for the prevention of leaflet thrombosis and thromboembolic risk in patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures, a trial has shown.

A six-month study in 229 TAVR patients showed that the proportion with CT-detected subclinical leaflet thrombosis (SLT) was lower in the edoxaban group compared to the DAPT group, but the difference was not significant (9.8% vs 18.4%, risk ratio 0.53, 95% CI: 0.26–1.09).

DOAC treatment also did not have an impact on various brain MRI measures of cerebral thromboembolism, changes in multiple neurocognitive assessments, clinical outcomes, or bleeding, according to results presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2022 Scientific Session. and published simultaneously online in Circulation.

“The key messages from this study are that SLT has not been proven to affect clinical outcomes for patients undergoing valve replacement and that in patients in whom SLT causes no symptoms or complications, its presence should not dictate the type of antithrombotic therapy that patients receive following the implantation of an artificial heart valve,” said study investigator Dr Duk-Woo Park.

HSANZ opens applications for scholarships

The Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand says applications for up to nine scholarships and fellowships are now open for 2023.

HSANZ says that in conjunction with charity partners, it is offering a range of HSANZ-funded or co-funded PhD scholarships, clinical fellowships, grants and awards annually, biennially and triennially.

This year it is offering three HSANZ/Leukaemia Foundation PhD scholarships for projects with a focus on research priorities such as understanding the biology of blood cancers, precision medicine, new diagnostics, novel therapies, innovative clinical trials and/or incorporation of real-world data, and prevention research.

A HSANZ/Maddie’s Vision doctoral scholarship is also being offered for a project demonstrating outstanding merit in both acquired and inherited bone marrow failure syndromes and related disorders.

Applications are also open for two HSANZ clinical fellowships, the Albert Baikie Memorial Medal and Award, the HSANZ/Snowdome Foundation Travel Grants and Mid-Career Blood Cancer Research Grant.

Applications will close Sunday, 10 July 2022.

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