Commencing January 2020, A/Prof Anneke van der Walt was awarded a three-year Trish Translational Research Project Grant titled, “Active Participatory Health Monitoring in people with Multiple Sclerosis (Active-MS)”.
The aim of the Project is to implement and validate novel tests that can be used to predict, early on, if patients with MS are likely to have a good or poor outcome. This information could be used in clinical practice to optimize treatment choice quickly and efficiently, to ensure people with MS maintain the best quality of life and productivity.
A/Prof van der Walt and her team’s progress so far, is that the study has been approved at all four hospital sites, all sites having Ethics and Governance approval. All sites have commenced recruitment. The necessary technology to enable and ensure the collection of high-quality data have been developed. Due to the Covid restrictions, there have been little to no in-patient clinic visits which has and will continue to significantly impact the speed of recruitment. To reduce this impact, an ethics amendment enables telehealth consenting and visits.
Covid 19 has also had a large impact on recruitment and resources as staff have been redeployed to other areas to assist in the management of Covid. Easing of Covid restrictions will increase the number of in-clinic visits and boost the recruitment rate. Due to these constraints, approval has been granted to extend this study, the new completion date being 31 December 2023.
A/Prof van der Walt and her team have attracted industry funding from Roche pharma. This will allow them to expand the study to an additional 6-7 sites nationally and increase the participants from 300 to 600. This study has also contributed to successful collaborations.