The Thoracic Society of ANZ


Home 5 Research Roundup 5 VOLUME 1.07 SEPTEMBER 2016

Research Roundup:

September 2016


Welcome Message

This Research Roundup comes off the back of the ERS Congress; the largest respiratory conference ever! This event saw a concentration of more than 22,000 respiratory researchers, with even more virtual delegates attending through the live congress streaming. Despite the paucity of funding for respiratory research there is still a vibrant community. For respiratory professionals who could not attend the congress in person and would like catch up on particular sessions, on demand viewing of the ERS is still available via the TSANZ website. 

TSANZ is currently negotiating an en bloc membership arrangement with the ERS.More details will follow on this and we look forward to making an announcement shortly.

More awards are now open for application. The Maurice Blackburn Grant-in-Aid and the suite of Lung Foundation Australia awards are now available.

The TSANZ Awards by Nomination are a special class of award. The TSANZ Board would like to encourage you to please consider nominating a leader in the field Respiratory Medicine who is deserving of recognition through one of the these awards:

The Research Medal

Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge in respiratory medicine or science carried out primarily in Australia or New Zealand. 

The Society Medal

Awarded  as an acknowledgment of excellence in fields other than research, i.e. teaching or advocacy. 

The 50th Anniversary Medal for Education and Training

Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to respiratory education and training in New Zealand or Australia. The award recognises an individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence in education and training.

Please see our web site for more information.

Also currently open is the annual call for nominations for Fellow status. Members from all professions who demonstrate exceptional contribution to the field of respiratory health in Australia or New Zealand can apply to be a Fellow of TSANZ. If the Fellow status is approved, the member will be able to use the post nominal FThorSoc and will be able to continue to do so whilst a financial member of TSANZ.

The main aims of the Fellow status are:

  1. To recognise expertise and experience in respiratory medicine and/or research and/or respiratory health service provision.

  2. To acknowledge a major contribution and commitment to advancing respiratory health in Australia and/ or New Zealand.

Finally, and I know this is not research-related, it is vitally important that TSANZ members respond to the report of the Clinical Committee on Thoracic Medicine which was released on Friday – more information below.

Enjoy your September Research Roundup,

Prof Phil Hansbro

Chair, Research Sub-Committee

The following articles will take you to

Potential role for vitamin D in asthma management. A Cochrane review has provided more robust evidence that adding vitamin D supplements to routine asthma management plans may benefit patients. However more research is required to confirm optimal dosing and the likely benefit in various patient sub-groups, says co-author Dr Megan Jensen. Read More.

What if asthma is actually a rash? Australian researchers are taking a novel approach to treating asthma as a rash, rather than a respiratory disease. We caught up with Professor Bruce Thompson about why this could change the way we think about asthma. Read More.

TSANZ adds voice to stem cell concerns. Australian thoracic specialists have added their collective voice to an international position statement condemning the use of “unproven stem cell interventions for lung diseases” – as the groundswell of multi-disciplinary opposition to the practice grows. Read More. 

Embrace the new equations. A position statement on reference values for spirometry and their use in test interpretation will encourage more clinicians to embrace the new equations, experts say. Read More.

A definition for ACOS. A push to have ACOS declared as disease in its own right is gathering momentum with the release of a draft operational definition by Australian authors. Read More. 

New mechanism of infection for TB. Mycrobacterium tuberculosis infects the body through a previously unknown route of entry, new research suggests. Read More.

Report of the Clinical Committee on Thoracic Medicine

On Friday last week, the Government released the report of the Clinical Committee on Thoracic Medicine. TSANZ will respond to this an an organisation, but also invites each one of you to respond as an individual, and to send us your feedback at 

The online consultation is open from Friday 9 September until Friday 7 October 2016: MBS Review Task Force Consultation.

Further information on the consultation can be found at the Department of Health Website

Please note on the 6 September 2016, the MBS Review Task Force released an Interim Report to the Minister for Health.

Research Project and Survey Requests

Barriers and facilitators to optimal use of acute oxygen therapy in adults

Dear colleagues,

Our research  team is conducting a study to investigate the  barriers, facilitators and attitudes of health care professionals towards the prescription and delivery of oxygen therapy in the acute care setting. We hope that the results from this study will provide information that will be used to inform and facilitate the translation of evidence based guidelines into clinical practice.

As a clinician who delivers care to patients who use oxygen therapy, we understand that your views and opinions are important. You are invited to participate in this voluntary online survey. It is expected that this should take no longer than 15 minutes. There are no correct or incorrect responses, this survey is designed to explore your opinions regarding acute oxygen therapy.

This study has been granted ethics approval by Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee  (Approval number: 16/04/20/5.03) and the University of Newcastle Human Research Ethics Committee (Reference Number: H-2016-0222). For further information you can view the participant information HERE

There are no anticipated risks to you for taking part in this survey. Information that you provide will be anonymous and remain confidential. Only those directly involved in this research have access to any answers that you provide. Participation in the survey implies consent and can be completed by clicking  the  OXYGEN SURVEY LINK HERE

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions regarding this research.

We thank you in advance for participating and ask you to consider forwarding this survey to other colleagues, who also deliver care to patients with oxygen therapy.

Kind Regards

Professor Vanessa McDonald
Professor Peter Wark
Joyce Cousins (PhD Scholar)

Inhaled Liposomal Amikacin for treatment resistant MAC infection – a randomised control trial enrolling now.

Dear TSANZ members,
There is currently an industry sponsored RCT of Nebulised Liposomal Amikacin for pulmonary MAC infection which has failed six months of standard therapy or relapsed after treatment. This is the first RCT of a novel compound for NTM infection. Inclusion and exclusion criteria are in the link below.

The CONVERT STUDY is an international, multi-centre study and there are a number of study sites in Australia and New Zealand. The study sponsor is prepared to pay for travel and accommodation expenses for people in regional areas to travel to study sites.
If you wish to discuss possible patients for screening and enrolment, I can be contacted via email at, and I can direct you to your nearest study site.

Dr Andrew Burke
Thoracic and Infectious Diseases Physician
The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane
(study PI, no conflicts)

Perioperative care of patients with OSA: A survey of beliefs and management approaches amongst Australian clinicians

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) has a rising prevalence in the general population and in those presenting for surgery. It is an established risk factor for increased incidence of peri-operative and post-operative complications. There are currently no consensus-based recommendations on management of these patients in Australia. We wish to conduct a survey of specialties involved in the care of these patients to examine current practice and beliefs in the perioperative management of OSA. The results will be reviewed by the Respiratory and Sleep Department at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, to identify  current trends in practice, and to ultimately guide towards a consensus approach in this field.

The survey link is:

Dr Chong Weng Ong | Respiratory and Sleep Consultant | St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Joy Sha | Respiratory and Sleep Registrar | St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

GP COPD Survey for Primary Care SIG

Dear Colleague

Our research team is conducting a survey to understand how General Practitioners (GPs) and GP registrars approach symptom management and palliative care, when caring for patients with severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). From the results of this study we hope to develop educational resources to assist GPs when caring for this patient group.

We invite you to take part in a voluntary online survey, which will take 5-10 minutes to complete.  There are no right or wrong answers to the questions in this survey.

Participant Information letter

Kind regards

Dr John Politis | Basic Physician Trainee | Department of Respiratory & Sleep Medicine  The Royal Melbourne Hospital – City Campus | Level 1 Centre for Medical Research Building | Melbourne | Tel: +61 3 9342 7708

Dr Natasha Smallwood | Respiratory Physician | Department of Respiratory & Sleep Medicine  The Royal Melbourne Hospital – City Campus | Level 1 Centre for Medical Research Building | Melbourne | Tel: +61 3 9342 7708

A/Prof Louis Irving | Director of Respiratory & Sleep Medicine  | The Royal Melbourne Hospital | Melbourne

A/Prof Brian Le | Director of Palliative & Supportive Care | The Royal Melbourne Hospital | Melbourne

COPD survey invitation for Physio, Primary Care and Respiratory Nurse SIG

Dear Colleague

Our research team is conducting a survey to understand physiotherapist’s, occupational therapist’s, nurse’s, social worker’s and other allied health professionals’ knowledge and practice behaviours regarding advance care planning in patients with COPD. From the results of this study we hope to develop educational resources to assist health professionals when caring for this patient group.

We invite to participate in a survey, that should take only 10-15 minutes to complete. Several disciplines are represented in the overall survey, however you will be directed to only those questions relevant to your discipline.

Ethics approval has been granted for this study from the University of Sydney. All responses will be anonymous and confidential. No personal information that could identify you is being collected and your email address will not be linked to your survey response. Your consent to participate in this study is implied by completing the survey.

Further information about this research study is provided in the enclosed document [DOWNLOAD]. If you have any questions regarding this research, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Rebecca Disler directly. Thank you in advance for participating.

Please click on the link below to proceed to the survey. If the link fails to load automatically, please cut and paste it into your internet browser:

Kind regards

Dr Rebecca Disler | Senior Lecturer in Chronic Disease | The University of Sydney
Email:  | Tel: 0406 876 587

Dr Natasha Smallwood | Respiratory Physician Department of Respiratory Medicine | The Royal Melbourne Hospital

A/Prof Louis Irving | Respiratory Physician Department of Respiratory Medicine | The Royal Melbourne Hospital
Prof David Currow | Palliative Care Physician Flinders University | Adelaide

STUDENT DECLARATION  Yuxiu Cui will be analysing the study results as the basis for her degree of Bachelor of Advanced Nursing (Honours) at The University of Sydney. This will take place under the supervision of Dr Rebecca Disler.








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