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Australian Competitive Grants (Category 1)

Measuring and Valuing Changes in Child Health to Facilitate Robust Decision Making

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Research Grant


Chief Investigators: Devlin N, Norman R, Viney R, Ratcliffe J, Dalziel K, Mulhern B, Hiscock H, Street D, Chen G.

Associate Investigators: Whitehurst D, Rowen D, Watson J, Shah K, Prosser L, Bansback N, Rivero-Arias O, Russo R, Snelling T.

Decisions about health care rely on evidence that treatments work and are value for money. There are established ways of measuring and valuing improvements to adult health using health related quality of life (HRQoL) questionnaires, but this is more challenging in children. Proxy completion of paediatric HRQoL can affect comparability. Different aspects of HRQoL will be relevant to children and adults – so there is a question about whether evidence on each can be directly compared in assessments of cost effectiveness. HRQoL data need to be summarised by a ‘value’ to estimate QALYs – but there are important unresolved issues about how best to obtain these values where children are concerned. Our research will comprehensively address these and related methods issues in measuring and valuing child health for use in assessing effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Outputs will include (i) a database of paediatric HRQoL data across different diseases, and evidence on how different questionnaires compare (ii) improved methods for self-and proxy-report (iii) state of the art methods for valuing children’s HRQoL, including an Australian value set for at least one widely-used paediatric measure (iv) evidence on the weight placed on child vs. adult QALYs by patients, the general public and decision makers. Together, these outputs will facilitate wider collection and use of HRQoL in children and more robust evidence.

Screening for Primary Aldosteronism: Outcomes, Economics and Biomarkers

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grant


Chief Investigators: Yang J, Stowasser M, Russell G, Gwini S.

Associate Investigators: Chen G, Reid C, Fuller P, Young M, Shen J.

Hypertension is a major cause of strokes, blindness, heart attacks and kidney failure.  Primary aldosteronism (PA) is a curable cause of hypertension.  Unfortunately, PA often goes undiagnosed as most doctors do not screen for it, leading to hypertension that is difficult to control and high risk of strokes and heart attacks at a younger age.  This project will find out exactly how many people in our community have PA and find new cost-effective ways to make the diagnosis earlier.

The Algorithm Will See You Now: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Adopting Machine Learning Systems for Diagnosis and Screening

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grant


Chief Investigators: Carter S, Houssami N, Degeling C, Richards B, Braunack-Mayer A, Rogers W, Wang L, Win K, Woode ME.

Associate Investigators: Semsarian C, Coeira E, Chen G, Frazer H.

This project focuses on machine learning--a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI)--which can now diagnose and screen for conditions including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Our multi-disciplinary team will systematically examine how AI is changing healthcare, and the values of data scientists, health professionals and the public. Drawing on ethics, social sciences and the law, we will develop a new approach to guide future use of machine learning for diagnosis and screening.

FIT for Purpose: Personalised Surveillance Colonoscopy for People at Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant


Chief Investigators: Symonds E, Young G, Wilson C, Fraser R, Bampton P, Kuipers E.

Associate Investigators: Cock C, Chen G, Woodman R.

Bowel cancer is a very common cancer in Australia. The best prevention strategy for people at increased risk of this disease is regular colonoscopies (every 3-5 years), however these are associated with risks, and places a large burden on limited healthcare resources. The majority of people do not need such intensive surveillance. Our proposal will test a novel way to reduce the frequency of colonoscopies needed through a personalised risk-assessment strategy using faecal occult blood tests.

Personalising Treatment and Surveillance for Colorectal Cancer: Prognostication with the Circulating Tumour-Derived Methylated DNA Markers BCAT1 and IKZF1

Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS)


Chief Investigators: Symonds E, Karapetis C, Young G, Chen G, Roy A, Fraser R.

Associate Investigators: Woodman R, Pedersen S, Young J, Hewett P, Hollington P, Murphy E, Segelov E, LaPointe L, Cornthwaite K, Hardwicke J.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Australia. Despite surgery, approximately one third of patients will have the cancer return within 3 years. We have developed a blood test that can detect bowel cancer and will now determine if it can also be used to determine which patients are at higher risk for cancer recurrence. This would allow specialists to focus therapies, especially chemotherapy, on those who will benefit most and avoid it in those who do not need it.

What Do Australians Really Care About? New Survey and Experimental Evidence

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)


Recipient: Chen G.

This project aims to provide detailed investigations into the relative importance of key life domains, for example health and relationships, at different life stages and their links with the subjective wellbeing of Australians. It will use nationally representative survey data and innovative choice experiments to generate new knowledge to the rapidly expanding economics literature on subjective wellbeing measures and individual and societal welfare. This evidence will help prioritise those policies which maximise the wellbeing of Australians.

Determining the Best Outcome Measures for Assessing Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Childhood Mental Disorders

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant


Chief Investigators: Mihalopoulos C, Richardson J, Scott J, Viney R, Brazier J, Chen G.

Associate Investigators: Patton G, Ratcliffe J, O’Shea M, Haslam R, Norman R, Stathis S.


The aim of this study is to evaluate which are the best outcome measures to use to assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions and services for children with mental disorders. The study will have great policy and practice relevance as it will help ensure that only services and interventions which work and provide good-value-for money are offered to children with such problems.

A Novel Multi-gene Marker Blood Test to Increase Community Participation in Colorectal Cancer Screening

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant


Chief Investigators: Young G, Wilson C, Woodman R, Cole S, Chen G, Fraser R, Symonds E.

Associate Investigators: Ratcliffe J, Pedersen S.


Bowel cancer screening programs are vital for early detection and prevention, but participation with the traditional faecal testing mode is less than 35%. Reasons include dislike or unsuitability for faecal testing. These barriers could be overcome and participation could increase using a different sampling mode for the screening test. We have developed a blood test for bowel cancer and will investigate if people who will not screen with the stool test will screen with the blood test instead.

Developing a New Cardiovascular Specific Instrument to Measure and Value Health

National Heart Foundation of Australia  (NHFA) Vanguard Grant


Chief Investigator: Kularatna S.

Associate Investigators: Scuffham P, Byrnes J, Chen G.

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