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10th December 2021 Latest News

Lifesaving Machine Set to Eliminate Pain for Pancreatitis Patients

Toby Coates and Chelsea Holloway

Adelaide will be the leading centre of excellence in the southern hemisphere for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis thanks to a purpose-built facility officially opened today.

Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia and The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group* provided a $1.4 million grant to purchase a Biospherix Chamber that will be a game-changer for patients who require a unique medical procedure to alleviate excruciating pain.

Specialists flown in from the United States have constructed the state-of-the-art machine that will play a critical role in total pancreatectomy procedures, followed by auto-islet transplants.

The technology will enable clinical islet isolation to occur in Adelaide for the first time, which will also benefit patients with Type -1 diabetes in the future.

Led by Professor Toby Coates, Director of Transplant Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the complex and costly procedure has already helped 11 patients, thanks to the support of THRF Group prior to the delivery and installation of this life-saving machine.

“Prior to having our own Biospherix system, we’ve needed to remove a patient’s pancreas and fly it to Melbourne. The islet cells, needed to produce insulin, are then harvested and flown back to Adelaide to be infused into the patient’s liver, effectively curing them of their chronic condition,” Prof Coates explained.

“The fact we’ll now be able to isolate the cells directly in Adelaide will not only reduce costs involved in this procedure, but it will be far more efficient and come with less risk for the patient who currently has to endure a 17-hour operation.”

“We’re extremely grateful for The Hospital Research Foundation Group who have solely supported the purchase of the Biospherix system, with the South Australian Government supporting the construction and installation of the cleanroom that will house the chamber.”

South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said:

“This world-class facility is going to be a game-changer for South Australians. We are also likely to see young patients from across the Asia Pacific region who’ll be able to access this treatment, with unmatched expertise and medical equipment all housed right here in South Australia.”

THRF Group CEO Paul Flynn said the unveiling of the chamber, located in the SA Pathology building on Frome Rd, was momentous for Adelaide as a thriving biomedical precinct committed to innovation and excellence.

“The work of Professor Coates and his colleagues in honing expertise in this procedure is commendable, enabling our state to become a leader in changing lives for patients living with this debilitating condition,” Paul said.

“A heartfelt thank you to our generous supporters including those who purchase tickets in The Hospital Research Foundation Home Lottery for their ongoing support, to enable us to fund such impactful and lifesaving initiatives like these.”

*KTDRA is part of The Hospital Research Foundation Group

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