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Current Projects

Projects are undertaken by trainees and HSCRU in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle are in a range of research designs and methodologies and include: ​

- Investigator-initiated randomised trials
- Co-operative study group randomised trials
- Basic science research
- Retrospective cohort, audit and chart review
- Biobanking and biomarkers
- Meta-analysis and systematic reviews
- Surveys and questionnaires

Research staff also support co-operative and sponsored trials especially in the area of cancer treatment, and work collaboratively with other clinical trial units in the HNE Clinical Cancer Research Network.

Study Name ​Study DesignDescription
A Randomised Clinical Trial to Assess the Use of Nasogastric Tubes in Patients with Adhesive Small Bowel Obstruction for Prevention of Operative Intervention. ​​Investigator-initiated RCT Nasogastric tubes (NGTs) have long been considered standard practice for the management of adhesional small bowel obstructions (ASBOs). In the current literature however, evidence to support the routine use of NGTs in ASBO is sparse. This RCT aims to compare outcomes associated with NGT or no NGT in patients presenting with adesional small bowel obstruction.
Should Mixed Methods Study to analyse stakeholder feedback regarding accessibility, usability and content of a Prototype Decision Aid for patients with Low-Risk Thyroid CancerMixed MethodsLow-risk thyroid cancer has historically been treated with surgical removal of the entire thyroid. Recent evidence has shown that active surveillance or lesser surgery with removal of half of the thyroid may be reasonable alternatives for many patients. The aim of this study is to use patient and clinician feedback to assess the acceptability of a prototype decision aid and guide further refinements.
Should Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices be Standard Therapy for the Prevention of Venous Thrombosis for the Prevention of Venous Thrombo-embolic Events; A Randomised Clinical Trial in Patients Undergoing Surgery Investigator-initiated RCT
Does the use of intermittent pneumatic compression devices (IPCDs) offer any adjuvant benefit when the combination of graduation compression stockings (GCS) and chemical prophylaxis (LMWH) is used for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in patients undergoing major surgery.
A Randomised Clinical Trial to Assess the Effects of Enhanced Versus Standard Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy on Postoperative Spirometry ​​Investigator-initiated RCT A study to assess an enhanced suite of treatments can improved recovery after laparoscopic cholecystectomy, as assessed by spirometry and mobility.
Improving the sustainability of elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy Cohort Study This study aims to document the effectiveness of laparoscopic cholecystectomy using only equipment that is essential and avoiding opening and disposing of gear not actually used, within both the public and private sectors locally.
John Hunter Hospital Cystectomy Registry and Assessment for Surgery Observational study This retrospective and prospective study aims to assess outcomes with pre-operative CPET assessment in radical cystectomy surgery for bladder cancer in the Australian context, and clarify how practice and pre/peri-operative care may be optimised.
Patient Comprehension Study in Urology Patients ​​Investigator-initiated RCT To assess and improve the knowledge and comprehension of surgical patients regarding their care in John Hunter Hospital Urology department- including diagnosis, planned investigations, estimated discharge date and follow up plan.
Use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients with Bladder Lesions: A pilot study. Pilot Study This pilot study  will aim to evaluate the application of
VI-RADS in the staging of bladder lesions.
Purse string Ileostomy Closure with Negative Pressure Wound Therapy: a Prospective Cohort Study in Patients Undergoing Stoma Closure Compared to a Retrospective Cohort Study ​​Investigator-initiated ​prospective observational This study aims to assess the time to healing of ileostomy purse string wounds when a negative pressure wound therapy is applied. Secondary outcomes include surgical complications, including surgical site infection, as well as length of hospital stay and cost of wound care.
Braun Enteroenerostomy for Reconstruction after Pylorus-resecting Pancreaticoduodenectomy ​​Investigator-initiated RCT A Braun Enteroenterostomy is an optional surgical technique which may reduce the risk of delayed gastric emptying after such procedures. This study will examine whether the routine addition of this surgical technique will reduce rates of DGE after PD.

Closed to accrual
​​Investigator-initiated RCT/Co-operative group A randomised controlled single blinded multicentre trial of polyethylene glycol sealant to the staple line vs staple line alone in distal pancreatectomy.

​​Investigator-initiated RCT RCT comparing post-operative pain and mobility in tack vs suture mesh fixation in laparoscopic ventral hernia repair
BCG + Mitomycin Trial

Closed to accrual
Co​-operative Group RCT ​Adding mitomycin to BCG as adjuvant intravesical therapy for high-risk, non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer: a randomised phase 3 trial
Masterplan Co​-operative Group RCT ​A study testing the impact of adding high dose RT to standard chemotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. This study is being led by the Australasian Gastro-intestinal Trials Group and is coordinated by the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre Sydney. JHH and Calvary Mater Newcastle involved.
​Follow-up of Patients with Well-Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: a Survey of Clinician Preferences ​Cross-sectional survey ​Despite good survival rates, recurrence of thyroid cancer can occur many years and even decades after initial treatment. This has led to most thyroid cancer patients being followed up for many years (minimum of five years) and in some cases for life.
​Evaluating Quality of Life Assessment Tools in Patients Undergoing Thyroid Surgery ​Cross-sectional survey ​Research into the quality of life of people undergoing thyroid surgery. This study is about better understanding patient’s experiences and the impact a diagnosis could have on daily life.
​A Randomised, Blinded Clinical Trial of Scalpel vs Electrocautery Skin Incisions in Participants undergoing Thyroid Surgery. ​​Investigator-initiated RCT ​An RCT to compare cosmesis and wound healing
​Mitochondrial Density and Function in Parathyroid Disease ​Biomarker study ​To describe the mitochondrial mass and activity found in parathyroid adenoma, hyperplasia and normal parathyroid tissue.
Closed vs Open Laparotomy for Severe Complicated intra-abdominal sepsis. COOL Study ​International Cooperative Group RCT ​A study comparing open (with negative pressure vacuum device) vs closed abominal mortality.
Melatonin to improve sleep in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery ​​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​This project compares a sublingual dose of melatonin to placebo to investigate if it improves sleep whilst in hospital, based on a patient-reported outcome measure.
​Post-banding of Haemorrhoids Topical Analgesia

Completed and results published
​​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​This project compares 3 topical ointments for post-procedure analgesia.
The Newcastle Skin Prep Study

Completed and results published
​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​This project is a large RCT comparing 3 standard skin disinfectants used for skin preparation in incisional surgery. Recruitment was completed late in 2018 and results are to be published shortly.
Quality of Life After Thyroid Disease ​Cross-sectional survey ​This study will be used to assess the self-reported quality of life of thyroid cancer survivors compared to that of patients who have had thyroid surgery or radioiodine ablation for benign disease, and patients who have been investigated for a potential thyroid malignancy.

​Investigator-initiated Phase I study ​A  study to investigate the safety and tolerability of 2 medicinal cannabis agents in surgical patients.
CRP Trajectory in Colorectal Resections

Completed and results published

​​Investigator-initiated ​prospective observational A multisite international study to validate the uility of CRP trajectory as a predictor of anastomotic leak in colorectal resections.
​PIMCO Study ​​Investigator-initiated prospective observational A comparison of perioperative inflammatory markers and their relationship tp sepsis and surgical outcomes in colorectla cancer.

Closed to accrual
​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​Lignocaine in Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery and effect on Natural Killer Cells
​Wound Bacteriology

Completed and results published
​Investigator-initiated prospective observational ​A study to identify and characterise pathogens in colorectal surgical incisions at time of operation.
​Microleaks ​Investigator-initiated prospective observational ​A study looking at identifying pathogens at the site of bowel anastomoses.
​A La CaRT

Completed and results published
Co​-operative Group Phase III RCT Australian Laparoscopic Cancer of the Rectum Trial. A Phase III Prospective Randomised Trial Comparing Laparoscopic-assisted Resection versus Open Resection for Rectal Cancer
​DOCTOR STUDY ​Co​-operative Group Phase II RCT ​A trial of pre-operative cisplatin, 5 fluorouracil and docetaxel A ± radiotherapy based on poor early response to standard chemotherapy for resectable adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and/or OG Junction
​VIDIT Study

Completed and results published
​​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​A Double-Blind, Randomised, Placebo-controlled Trial to Assess the Efficacy of Preoperative Oral Cholecalciferol, versus Placebo at Preventing Postoperative Hypocalcaemia in Patients Undergoing Total Thyroidectomy

Completed and results published
​​​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​A double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial assessing postoperative recovery using intraperitoneal local anaesthetic in laparoscopic colorectal surgery.
Procalcitonin Study

Completed and results published
​Investigator-initiated prospective observational ​Procalcitonin as a Marker of Anastomotic Leak - An Observational Study.
CRP in Acute Appendicitis

Completed and results published
​Investigator-initiated prospective observational ​A Prospective Observational Study of CRP Velocity in Suspected Acute Appendicitis
​Liver Biopsies
​​Investigator-initiated restroprospective review ​The futility of FNA and CNB in the management of patients with solid liver lesions

Completed and results published
​​​​Investigator-initiated Phase III RCT ​Trial to Assess the Efficacy of Bolus Versus Infusion as a Mode of Delivery for Local Anaesthetic Blocks Following Abdominal Surgery