UNSW academics receive $3.3m to help endometriosis sufferers and improve clinical registeries

05 Oct 2022
UNSW academics receive $3.3m to help endometriosis sufferers and improve clinical registeries

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Jason Abbott and health data expert Louisa Jorm have been awarded two Research Data Infrastructure grants from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. 

UNSW Sydney researchers will investigate a range of fertility options for people with endometriosis and develop cloud-based clinical registries after being awarded $3.3 million in grants from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Next-gen clinical registries

Professor Louisa Jorm, from UNSW Medicine & Health and Director of the Centre for Big Data Research in Health, will receive $2.6 million to develop next-generation clinical registries.

Her team will create a software framework – NextCR – for organisations to use to establish and operate secure, cloud-based clinical registries. The project will use advanced software engineering and artificial intelligence (AI) methods to transform near real-time data drawn directly from electronic medical records (EMRs) and other electronic data, including imaging.

“NextCR registries will enable totally new research that will lead to better patient outcomes,” Prof. Jorm said. “For example, developing new AI models to predict outcomes after a joint replacement and personalising the care of patients with coronary disease and cardiac arrhythmias.”

“The near-real-time availability of this data will also allow for rapid feedback to improve patient care and support registry-based recruitment of patients into clinical trials.”

Prof. Jorm’s research will address new national requirements for clinical quality registries in domains including orthopaedics, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The Australian Orthopaedic Association, South Eastern Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, eHealth NSW and the Agency for Clinical Innovation are partners in the project.

Identifying fertility options for women with endometriosis

Professor Jason Abbott at UNSW Medicine & Health has been awarded a $689,000 grant to study fertility outcomes for people with endometriosis.

“We will look at what the assisted reproductive technology (ART) outcomes are, such as the number of eggs and the number of embryos, if treatment for infertility is required,” Prof. Abbott said. “We will also look at the maternal and neonatal outcomes for women with endometriosis compared to those without and the impact of surgery on ART and the fertility, maternal and neonatal outcomes.” 

Endometriosis is an inflammatory menstrual health disorder that affects one in nine Australians and can lead to issues with infertility for a third of these individuals. 

“Many people with endometriosis wanting a pregnancy may require ART to help them achieve that goal. There is some evidence that endometriosis affects pregnancy outcomes, and this may impact the way that we counsel people with endometriosis,” Prof. Abbott said.

“Australia has a rich dataset around ART and this project will allow us to look at a range of different outcomes for the mother, the baby and the impact on the healthcare sector specifically in this field.”  

Prof. Abbott said this information will be used to better counsel people with endometriosis entering ART. 

Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health, congratulated Prof. Abbott and Prof. Jorm on securing the funding.

“Jason has dedicated his career to researching and advocating for improved treatment of endometriosis. This grant is a great step forward for outcomes for those suffering from the disease.

“Louisa’s research will meanwhile transform current methods of diagnosis and treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of both projects,” he said.