Research and Clinical Trials
Research and clinical trials go hand-in-hand with discovering and improving patient care and treatment. Research helps to improve policies, practices and treatments in the healthcare system.
Although research and clinical trials are new to our hospital, our goal is to provide more opportunities for our patients to participate in clinical research closer to home and family.
As we continue to embed and grow clinical research across our hospital, our short-term goal is to successfully invite participants onboard to start the clinical trials. This will allow us to offer some of the appointments and tests to the patients locally and reduce the travel burden. Meanwhile our collaboration in research with medical specialists across Australia will play a significant role in improving the clinical service provided to our patients.
Our long-term goal, however, is to establish a centre of excellence to undertake various phases of clinical research and establish a collaborative network between Mildura Base Public Hospital (MBPH) and research institutes and universities. As a result, our patients will no longer have to travel long distances to go on a clinical trial.
Our research areas focus on the needs of our community and will be enhanced through our partnerships with other hospitals, universities, sponsors and by joining government programs.
A clinical trial is a research study where people can volunteer to undergo testing for new diagnostics, devices, treatments, or to help prevent, detect, and treat or manage diseases or medical conditions.
Clinical trials can give patients early access to innovative treatments that have been proven successful well before they are available to the public.
They can improve quality of life for a range of diseases, and contribute to the development of new and improved treatment.
Participants may require laboratory tests and scans to check for side effects, while being regularly monitored by their clinicians and care team.
They are conducted under strict protocols, which means that participants must first pass eligibility criteria to be able to join a clinical trial program.
Clinical trials are at the core of patient care.
Informed consent means that potential participants of a clinical trial are provided with key information so they can decide whether or not to join the clinical trial, and once joined, they continue to be provided with related information during the trial. Anyone participating in a clinical trial needs to provide an informed consent or have a parent or guardian to give a legal consent for them.
Help for adults
A teletrial is a new model of care that has been designed to increase the access of clinical trials for regional and rural patients. To learn how it works, please read the patient-developed teletrial brochure here
MBPH Clinical Trials and Research Unit (CTRU)
Our first ever clinical trial and research unit was opened in February 2023 and is located on the ground floor of the Specialist Clinic adjacent to the hospital. This was made possible by generous community donations through our Foundation.
Key features of our unit include:
- Purpose-built to include two clinic rooms, telehealth room, sample processing and storage area.
- Clinical trial special equipment such as minus 20-degree freezer, minus 80-degree freezer, sample refrigerator, and refrigerated centrifuge.
- Dedicated research staff offices, home to our inaugural director of research, CTRU manager, research nurse and other support staff.
- Fully accredited local pathology, radiology and clinical trial pharmacy services onsite.
- A strong collaborative and advisory team of specialists from different departments, i.e., Oncology, ICU and Pharmacy on board.
We value the professional and financial support of our partners who will continue to support us now and into the future.
We are one of six Victorian hospitals receiving significant investment and support from the federal government’s TrialHub program. Based at Alfred Health, we’ve received intensive support in setting up our inaugural clinical trial and research unit, and will be continued to be supported by TrialHub over the next two years.
Regional Trials Network Victoria
The Regional Trials Network Victoria (RTN-Vic) was created to improve access and recruitment to high quality cancer clinical trials for rural and regional areas of Victoria.
Cancer Trials Australia
Cancer Trial Australia (CTA) is a long-standing organisation which has provided significant clinical trial support to member sites through management and regulatory activities. MBPH collaboration with CTA has led to critical improvement in offering clinical trial access to regional patients and volunteers which is considered a major achievement for the regional health network.
This information sheet is about Clinical Trial & Research
What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a research study where people can volunteer to test new diagnostics, devices or treatments to help prevent, detect, treat or manage diseases or medical conditions. These treatments, devices or diagnostics are known as interventions.
Interventions can include:
- experimental drugs
- cells and other biological products
- medical devices
- surgical and other medical treatments and procedures
- psychotherapeutic and behavioural therapies
- health service changes
- preventive care strategies
Clinical trials generally involve testing:
New interventions - by testing how people respond to the new intervention and what side effects might occur. This helps to determine if a new intervention works, is safe and is better than the interventions that are already available.
Existing interventions - by comparing existing interventions and either testing new ways to use them or observing how people respond to other factors that might affect their health (such as dietary changes).
Why do we need clinical trials?
Clinical trials are necessary to prove that new interventions are safe and effective for use in humans.
They help confirm if the intervention being studied will work, what the side effects are, how well they are tolerated and what the correct dose of a medicine should be. A clinical trial is commenced only after initial series of testing the new intervention (also called pre-clinical trial) were completed and results were satisfactory.
Without clinical trials, new medicines and medical devices cannot be approved for use in Australia.
How are clinical trials approved?
In Australia, clinical trials must be ethically and scientifically reviewed by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) before commencing. The HREC is a group comprising health professionals, researchers, lawyers and members of the public.
Who initiates clinical trials?
Clinical trials may be initiated by a drug or device company that has developed a new intervention. They are called the sponsor of the clinical trial and must be an Australian business. If the intervention has been developed by an overseas company, an Australian company is contracted to act as the sponsor on behalf of the international company. The sponsor provides funding to cover the costs of conducting the clinical trial.
Clinical trials may also be initiated by medical research organisations and individual or groups of health professionals, such as doctors and nurses. These trials may be funded by a research organisation, a grant from research funding bodies, or by the hospital itself.
Who runs a clinical trial?
Each clinical drug trial and most device trials are led by a doctor who is referred to as
How can you participate in a clinical trial?
Typically, it is recommended directly by your doctor.
Sometimes clinical trials are advertised within the hospital and in the media. If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, speak to your hospital doctor.
Before making this important decision, you will be given a full plain-language explanation of the clinical trial, in writing and verbally. You should ask any questions that have and carefully consider all the information before deciding to participate. You may wish to discuss the trial with your family before making your decision.
Remember, participating in any research is voluntary. You will receive appropriate care for your illness whether you choose to participate or not.
Can my child participate in a clinical trial?
Absolutely. Your child can participate in a clinical trial and provide a significant contribution to the efforts aimed at improving health of your child or children with similar conditions.
What happens with the results from clinical trials?
Once available, the results are made accessible to the clinical trial team and may be published in medical journals and other relevant publications. Participants can obtain a written plain language explanation of the results from the Principal Investigator.
What about my privacy?
All clinical trials are conducted in accordance with the Victorian Health Records Act Privacy Principles. Your information is kept confidential and you will not be able to be identified in any publication of the results. Your consent to share your information with any other organisation is obtained before information is released.
Can I leave a clinical trial once I’m on it?
Yes, you can choose to leave a clinical trial at any time and for any reason. You would only need to discuss your decision with the research team to check whether there are special requirements for leaving the trial and also handling of your data that was collected during the trial. Your decision to leave the trial will not affect the relationship between you and your doctor.