Research grants bring comfort to burns patients

A project to help burns patients feel comfortable in their own skin is one of many research projects that will share in $6 million of State Government infrastructure support funding in the latest round of the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF).

The project, which is being led by renowned burns specialist Fiona Wood, will seek new insights on the impact of laser treatment on burns scars, in particular the optimal timing of initial treatment post-injury and the ideal interval between treatments.

Laser therapy has revolutionised the treatment of burns over the past 20 years, reducing the time patients spend in pressure garments, their need for reconstructive surgery and the physical and psychological impact of burn injury.

As part of this study, the research team will take biopsies from patients pre and post laser therapy to determine the quality of scars at different periods post injury, the earliest being six weeks. The samples will then be analysed at a cellular level.

The researchers hypothesise that the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome.

Professor Wood is one of 139 high-performing researchers awarded funding in the 20th round of the MHRIF program, which provides grants to help researchers meet the day-to-day infrastructure costs associated with their projects.

Her team will use the grant to run the laboratory where the scar samples will be analysed.

Only researchers, who have secured funding for their research from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) or a funding body of similar standing, are eligible for MHRIF.

‎In addition to the MHRIF, a further $2.4 million in State Government funding will be shared by six medical research institutes in round three of the Research Institute Support program. This program provides financial support to institutes to enable them to buy resources essential for supporting quality research.

The six institutes are:

  • Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
  • Institute for Respiratory Health
  • Lions Eye Institute
  • Perron Institute (previously the Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute)
  • Telethon Kids Institute
  • Women and Infants Research Foundation.