The PROTECT Study (Pentoxifylline to PROTECT the preterm brain) is a large international multi-centre trial aiming to evaluate the effect of reducing long-term disability with intravenous pentoxifylline in preterm infants born < 29 weeks gestational age with sepsis or necrotising enterocolitis (a condition where sections of the bowel tissue die). Pentoxifylline treatment aims to reduce the burden of inflammation-related morbidity and improve long-term outcomes in the preterm infants.
The PANTS Trial reviewed the safety and effectiveness of probiotic supplementation in routine feeds in very preterm infants. There was a significant reduction in the risk of death as well as necrotising enterocolitis when babies received probiotics; as a result probiotic bacteria supplementation is part of routine care in preterm infants at several Australian hospitals. The results of this study have also led to two new studies, one investigating the effects of single vs multiple strain probiotic supplements (King Edward Memorial Hospital), and another investigating whether supplementing with dead bacteria gives the same results as live bacteria (Nepean Hospital).
The PROMISE Study looked at preterm infants less than 30 weeks gestation who had a suspected blood infection. The aim of this study was to develop a new rapid and accurate test that we can use to diagnose bacterial blood infections much earlier.
The CHAMPS Study was a unique study looking at the circulating levels and functionality of various anti-microbial proteins and peptides in very preterm infants. One of the peptides that we tested in the hopes that it would inhibit growth of bacteria has proven to be very effective in lab tests, and we’re now doing further testing before moving on to clinical trials.