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Your generous gift this Christmas will support medical research for you, your family and your community – without medical research, medicine stands still.

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To find out more about some of our research projects in St George & Sutherland Hospitals, please continuing reading below.


peter-gonskiSSMRF funded this project thanks to funds raised at the Sutherland Shire Council’s Mayoral Ball. This is the story of an innovative collaboration.

Medical researchers have joined forces in a ground-breaking clinical trial at Sutherland Hospital.
The trial is investigating ways chiropractic and osteopathic treatment can help manage respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Researcher and chiropractor Roger Engel said it was the first trial of its type ever held in an Australian public hospital. “In Australia, it is rare to see medical practitioners, chiropractors and osteopaths working together on a research project,” Dr Engel said.

Sutherland Hospital senior aged care physician Assoc Prof Peter Gonski is part of the trial, which is being funded by St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation and the Chiropractors Association of Australia NSW branch.

The trial follows on from a pilot project at the hospital in 2011. The pilot found chiropractic and osteopathic treatment of the chest wall could help improve lung function and exercise capacity in people with moderate to severe COPD.

The local health district recorded the third highest rate of COPD in Sydney in 2011. However, rates have been decreasing since 2008.

“We don’t know to what extent the state of the chest wall contributes towards the decline in lung function typically seen in COPD,” Dr Engel said. “This research will give us a better idea of the relationship between the two.”

About 200 participants will be involved in the trial.

During the recent 2016 Michael Tynan Memorial Challenge walkers visited Sutherland Hospital and experienced firsthand the research being done.




peter-wuDr Peter Wu is honorary Visiting Medical Officer Gastroenterologist at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at St George Hospital. The Foundation’s grant to Dr Wu is being used to investigate swallowing problems, titled “Clinical utility of Endoluminal Functional Imaging Probe in diagnosis and management of patients with Eosinophilic Oesophagitis.”

Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE) is a recently recognized allergic oesophageal condition which is
increasing in prevalence and which causes swallowing difficulties. The aim of the study is to improve our understanding of the manner in which this condition causes changes in the caliber and elasticity of the oesophagus in patients with EoE and how these properties change with treatment. To do this I have utilized a novel technology called Endoluminal Functional Lumen Imaging Probe (EndoFLIP).

Since commencement of the project in Feb 2015 we have recruited and studied 20 such patients. Preliminary results suggest that the elasticity and calibre of the oesophagus are both reduced in patients with EoE. In addition, these changes are, at least partially improved with medical therapies.

These findings are important because they suggest that EndoFLIP:
• may help the clinician to better distinguish these patients from those who suffer from similar disorders, and hence provide appropriate and timely treatment;
• may identify those who are likely to benefit from specific therapies and help us predict outcomes.

We anticipate these data will be analysed and published in abstract form late 2016. These promising results have led us to extend this work to investigate the utility of this technology in the management of other disorders including pharyngeal swallowing difficulties in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy as well as oesophageal contractile disorders (achalasia). The scientific publications generated by this funding will form an important component in our upcoming NHMRC project grant application in 2017.

This work will be presented at the American Gastroenterological Association Conference, San Diego, and will be published late 2016. The work will form the basis of an NHMRC Project Grant application 2017.


Meet Cheryl, a patient who has been helped by research



roncolatoDr Fernando Roncolato, who specialises in blood disorders & blood diseases at St George Private Hospital, is currently undertaking a pilot study of a randomised control trial assessing the impact of a supervised exercise program on the quality of life of lymphoma patients treated with chemotherapy – the EXEL study.

‘’The idea is that we use aerobic and strengthening exercises to improve psychological and physical quality of life. In contrast to a lot of other studies in this area, we’re attempting to employ the exercise component concurrently with chemotherapy. We’re hoping that by proving benefit, we will allow patients to promote their own health away from the clinic and hospital environment.’’


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