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$2.1 million Research Translation Projects recipients announced

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Liam Wignell
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// // An artificial intelligence project detecting infections in foot x-rays is among the winners...

The state government has announced eight successful research projects as part of the latest round of the Research Translations Projects 2021 program.

The recipients will share in $2.1 million of funding, with individual short-term projects eligible for up to $270,000.

Research translation refers to taking research findings and putting them into practical application in hospitals, as a way to create better outcomes for patients while improving efficiencies in the health system.

Innovation and medical research minister, Stephen Dawson, said the government is committed, through its Future Health Research and Innovation Fund, to provide funding for research that seek to make a difference in the health and overall wellbeing of Western Australians.

“A key priority of the McGowan Government’s Future Health Research and Innovation Fund is improving health outcomes for the community, and this important research has the power to do that,” he said.

AI to save lives

One of the recipients of the program is a South Metropolitan Health Service project that aims to train artificial intelligence to spot infections in foot x-ray of those with diabetes.

Every three hours an Australian loses a limb to diabetes-related foot disease, resulting in 4,4000 lower limb amputations annually, along with 1,700 deaths.

The study, which is being led by Dr Ashu Gutpa, will utilise technology that can even detect infections that are invisible to the human eye in some cases.

“With the successful union of x-rays with artificial intelligence, pixel-level information and radiomics will improve diagnostic accuracy and shorten treatment turnaround time,” added Mr Dawson.

“It will also provide prognostic information that will benefit the WA public health system.”

Western Australian Health Translation Network Executive Director Professor Gary Geelhoed noted the study is an exciting example of research translation’s value.

“Through the collaboration of researchers and clinicians this innovative use of artificial intelligence has the ability to deliver evidence-based care that offers better outcomes for patients,” he said.

$2.1 million Research Translation Projects recipients announced
Gary Geelhoed. Image – LinkedIn

Professor Geelhoed added it is “an excellent example of research being successfully implemented in practice, resulting in tangible patient and public benefits.”

The benefit of translating innovative research into clinical practice is that it delivers improved patient outcomes, higher-performing and more sustainable health services, and economic benefit for our communities.

Professor Gary Geelhoed, Western Australian Health Translation Network Executive Director

Other recipients of the program included the Telethon Kids Institute on behalf of the University of Western Australia Centre for Child Health Research. This research focuses on a strategy to improve follow-up measures for First Nations children hospitalised with chest infections.

Murdoch University received funding to develop user-friendly paper strip-based tests for early diagnosis of neurodegenerative conditions, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

UWA also received funding for Project Aftermath – a state-wide project that explores preparedness for antibiotic resistance caused by measures associated with the impact of Covid-19

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Picture of Liam Wignell

Liam Wignell

Liam has extensive experience across marketing, procurement and project management roles in both the public and private sector. He contributed to Startup News from 2020 to 2023 and was contracted as Managing Editor in 2022.
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