Science with heart: 5 ways we’re helping medical research in Australia (and the world)

By Nicholas Kachel

9 April 2015

3 minute read

The CardioCel patch.

The CardioCel patch.

Australian company Admedus has been making headlines recently for its innovative medical material, CardioCel. The tiny, flexible patch, made using part of a cow’s heart, is being used to treat potentially devastating birth defects like congenital heart disease – and it’s taking the international medical community by storm.

What’s more, we’re proud as punch to say that we were integrally involved in its success.

Our researchers worked with Admedus to assess the suitability of CardioCel for use in stem cell therapy in heart failure patients by comparing it with another commonly-used product. We found that CardioCel was well suited to cardiovascular cell therapy, and that it could have potentially groundbreaking applications in other areas of stem cell delivery too.

It’s since been implanted in more than 1200 patients across Australia, Europe, North America and Asia.

This is just one of many medical success stories we’ve been a part of. So, just because we like the number five, here’s five more:

3D printed titanium heel bones? Why not

When a Victorian man was facing amputation of his leg due to bone cancer in his heel bone, his doctor turned to us for help. Professor Peter Choong, from Melbourne’s St Vincent Hospital, knew about our work in titanium 3D printing and wondered if we could print a workable heel bone transplant, thus removing the need for amputation. We helped turn his vision – a metallic implant which could support a human body’s weight – into a world first-reality.

Putting blood tests on the spot

We’re working with Universal Biosensors to trial on-the-spot testing and results for a range of crucial blood tests. The immediacy of results means that patients avoid the dreadful stress that comes with waiting, as well as receiving treatment faster.  By broadening the application of point-of-care testing, we will see time and cost savings for already-stretched healthcare providers. Not bad for a little prick.

Supercomputers for (sort of) super hearts

Using the same technology that drives state-of-the-art video games, we created a ‘virtual heart’ simulation that the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are using to better diagnose and treat heart rhythm disease. Who said nothing good ever came from gaming?

Winning the waiting game in our hospitals
Our Demand Prediction Analysis Tool can predict bed demand in hospital emergency rooms by the hour, day and week, greatly easing the pressure on their emergency wards. A similar technology has already been rolled out in more than 30 hospitals in Queensland (hello, Schoolies!) and is currently being trialled in Victoria.

Know your enemy
Collectively, Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes impact the lives of millions of Australians. Their symptoms on the surface are known only too well – but how they affect us on the cellular level is a mystery to many. We brought the science behind the illnesses to life, using animations that explain very complex biological processes related to each disease with scientific accuracy. This is a truly unique way of zooming in on what happens inside our body, but can’t be seen with the naked eye.

For more information on our medical research, check out the health hub on our new website.