The Renal Unit continues to perform research within the Basil Hetzel Institute at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital after amalgamating with Royal Adelaide Hospital unit to create the Central Northern Renal and Transplantation Service in 2010. Significant research activity remains at TQEH site.
One project seeks to use polymer technology to develop small particles to deliver a constant supply of immunosuppressive drug compounds. Researchers have shown the new particles are capable of suppressing immune responses in vitro in culture systems. They hope to create biocompatible drug delivery systems that will deliver small amounts of highly effective drug at low concentration, ultimately reducing the amount of drugs given to patients.
The Islet Transplant Group focuses on Type 1 diabetes, a chronic, life-long disease affecting over 140,000 Australians where insulin-producing cells (in the pancreas), called islets, are destroyed. This group focuses on the isolation and transplantation of healthy pancreatic islets as a treatment and potential cure for Type I diabetes. As part of the Australian Islet Transplantation Consortium, the laboratory prepares and performs assays on purified islets that are ultimately transplanted into patients. To date, 9 Islet Transplants have been performed in Adelaide. Patients of successful islet transplants begin to produce their own insulin, and some become insulin independent having a reduced or eliminated need for insulin injections and insulin pumps. Researchers continue research into factors controlling the pancreatic beta cell in the Islets.
One research project looks at changes in the expression of zinc transporter proteins, present in both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. Discovering how they change may lead to treatment to stop patients developing diabetes.
In a landmark study, it was shown that colorectal cancer screening with colonoscopy was effective in detecting early cancers. The research attracted significant local media attention and was highlighted by an editorial in the British Medical Journal. Almost 230 colonoscopies were described in the paper. This was an outstanding example of clinical translational research initiated at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a truly international outcome. This work was directly supported by funding from The Hospital Research program grants.
Renal Unit Staff from Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service undertaking Research at The Basil Hetzel Institute and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
GR Russ MBBS FRACP PhD
Renal Transplant Nephrologist
PTH Coates MBBS FRACP PhD
S Jesudason MBBS FRACP PhD
S McDonald MBBS(Hons) FRACP PhD
Principal Hospital Scientist
C Drogemuller BSc(Hons)
D Mohanasundaram PhD
S Kireta BSc
2 PhD Students