Nsw Researchers Form Ground-breaking Collective To Fight Cardiovascular Disease

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12th October 2010, 02:38pm - Views: 1220

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13 October 2010

NSW researchers form a groundbreaking collective to put

cardiovascular disease at the heart of the State

Forty of the State’s most eminent researchers in the field of heart disease, stroke,

diabetes and kidney disease will rally together for the first time to tackle

cardiovascular disease head-on, as NSW continues to fall behind other states in the

amount of national funding for cardiovascular research.

The NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN), is made up of members from

22 universities and Institutes across NSW, and was established as a result of funding

from the Heart Foundation and the NSW Government.

Tonight, the researchers will come together for the first time, in an innovative meeting

at Parliament House, to share and combine their resources, and discover how their

combined research will redefine the future treatment of cardiovascular disease,

Australia’s biggest killer.

Cardiovascular disease claims the life of one Australian every 11 minutes and costs

the health system $12 billion annually.  In NSW 35% of all deaths are from

cardiovascular disease.

Between 2004-2009, NSW received just 31 per cent of the NHMRC’s cardiovascular

research funding, compared to Victoria’s 43 per cent, despite the fact that we have a

population of 7.2M versus Victoria’s 5.5M.


“The fact is, cardiovascular disease continues to kill more Australians every year than

any other disease.  It kills more people than all forms of cancer combined, and in

NSW we have some of the most innovative and outstanding researchers who are

tackling CVD head-on,” said Kristina Cabala, CVRN Director at the Heart Foundation.

“But New South Wales has fallen behind other states in the amount of funding

received for cardiovascular research.  The CVRN has established a system through

which our greatest researchers can network and collaborate on projects together, by

providing a tremendous springboard for ideas. This combined forces approach to

research is truly groundbreaking in the leverage it provides.” added Ms Cabala. 

Members of the CVRN include leading researchers from Sydney University, University

of NSW and Newcastle University, The Hunter Medical Research Institute, Victor

Chang Cardiac Research Institute, The George Institute for Global Health, Heart

Research Institute, Garvan Institute, Sax Institute and Kolling Institute, as well as the

key teaching hospitals.

CVRN is also supporting young researchers through Career Development Awards

and Fellowships, which in turn keeps expertise within the state. Tonight at the

Research Showcase, the CVRN will award a Career Development Award to up and

coming Sydney researcher, Associate Professor Vlado Perkovic, for his work on heart

disease in patients with chronic kidney disease.

“People with early kidney disease are at substantially increased risk of having a heart

attack or stroke, while those with severe kidney disease requiring dialysis, are more

than 20 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease,” said Associate Professor

Perkovic, from the George Institute for Global Health. 

One in six Australians is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), but most people

with CKD do not die of kidney failure. Instead, around 40-50 per cent of people with

CKD die from heart disease.

“Despite being an extremely high risk group, there are no clear guidelines on how to

treat heart complications caused by chronic kidney disease.  My research aims to

assess the benefits and risks associated with a range of treatments in order to identify

the best strategies moving forward,” added A/Prof Perkovic.

Perkovic will receive $400,000 over four years from the CVRN to continue his work.

“Vlado’s work demonstrates the importance of collaboration between research fields

such as heart disease and kidney disease, which is exactly what the CVRN has been

established to facilitate,” added Ms Cabala. 

In addition, the CVRN has awarded two Research Development Grants to outstanding

collaborative research proposals.

One grant will support the establishment of a state-wide Network of Excellence to

focus on congenital heart disease, which affects one in a hundred babies. The other

will use the unique NSW health and research database of over 260,000 patients, in

the “45 and Up” study, to examine what contributes to the development of heart and

kidney disease, diabetes and stroke in real patients as they age and the impact of the

healthcare they receive.

Event details:

What: State of the Heart. Introducing the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network

Where: Strangers Dining Room, NSW Parliament House

When: Wednesday 13 October 2010

Who: Dr Norman Swan, Dr Andrew McDonald NSW parliamentary secretary for

health , 40 eminent researchers and officials from leading Research Institutes,

Universities and Hospitals including Prof Carol Pollock – Kolling Institute; Prof Chris

Levi – HMRI, Prof John Chalmers – The George Institute, Prof David Celermajer –

Sydney University, Prof Richmond Jeremy – Sydney University, Prof Katherine

Samaras – The Garvan, Prof Len Kritharides – Concord Hospital, Prof Lynne Pressley

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Time: 5.30pm start till 7.00pm

Contact: Kristina Cabala, Director, NSW Cardiovascular Research Network, Heart

Foundation.  Mobile 0418 979 646 or Direct line (02) 9219 2407.


Media Contact: Kerry Kalcher - Mobile 0401 672 128 or Direct line (02) 9219 2433

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