Development of blood vessel repair therapy accelerated

Monday, 19 July, 2021

Development of blood vessel repair therapy accelerated

UniQuestThe University of Queensland’s (UQ) technology transfer company — has partnered with global biotechnology company CSL to accelerate the development of a potential treatment for the repair of blood vessels damaged by inflammation. The potential therapy could help patients recover faster from severe trauma, extensive burns and major surgery.

Following refinement by UQ Faculty of Medicine lead researcher Associate Professor Mark Coulthard, a paediatric intensivist at Queensland Children’s Hospital, and Professor Trent Woodruff and Dr Nemat Khan at UQ’s School of Biomedical Sciences, the technology will advance to preclinical studies, with $500,000 in funding from the CSL Research Acceleration Initiative.

Associate Professor Coulthard said the technology could benefit critically ill patients with sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as improve patient recovery from heart attack, stroke and organ transplant.

“It may also prevent high-risk patients from developing systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), which affects more than half of critically ill patients and contributes to significant mortality and morbidity,” he said.

“Critically ill patients with SIRS are currently resuscitated in the intensive care unit with large amounts of intravenous fluids and infusions that help to stabilise low blood pressure caused by leaky blood vessels. Finding a way to block the inflammatory mechanism that causes the leaky vessels is potentially a much more effective treatment.”

Associate Professor Coulthard said there is currently no therapy targeting the underlying cause of systemic inflammation, which damages the cells lining the inside surface of blood vessels.

“Leaky blood vessels may also result in complications as a result of complex surgery, organ transplantation, major trauma and extensive burns,” he said.

“Our approach has the potential to reduce deaths and ventilator bed days, shorten hospital stays and cut overall health costs.”

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the partnership with CSL is a fantastic opportunity to help the scientific team further develop its research with the hope of one day saving lives.

“This partnership will unite CSL’s global capabilities in inflammatory disease and commercial research and development with UQ’s excellence in biomedical research,” he said, adding that the new funding would build on UQ’s ongoing relationship with the global biotech company.

CSL’s Head of Global Research Innovation, Marthe D’Ombrain, said the CSL Research Acceleration Initiative was designed to enhance research commercialisation through partnerships in promising discovery programs.

“The UniQuest team is working on vitally important research in an area of unmet clinical need,” she said. “We look forward to helping transform these concepts into potentially groundbreaking new therapies for patients.”

Image caption: Associate Professor Mark Coulthard (left) and Professor Trent Woodruff (right). Image credit: The University of Queensland.

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