Accolades for Australian clinical trials at annual ACTA awards

The spotlight shone brightly on Australia’s position as a global leader in clinical trials at the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) 2022 Clinical Trials: National Tribute and Awards Ceremony, held on Friday 20 May 2022.

From a national pool of exceptional collaborative, multicentre, investigator-driven and impactful trial nominations, 4 major awards were presented for trials demonstrating significant and positive impacts for patients. These award winning trials and their subsequent impact on health outcomes successfully highlight the exceptional breadth of trial activity and expertise in Australia. 

These awards were established in 2016 to highlight the outstanding Australian achievements that advance clinical practice and save or improve the lives of patients every year.

The 2022 ACTA award winners were:

ACTA Trial of the Year Award

This trial employed a novel design to simultaneously evaluate potential treatments, and efficiently and rapidly generate evidence, which had a significant impact on the care of critical patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scientific name: Randomised, Embedded, Multifactorial Adaptive Platform trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia
Chief Investigator: Prof Steve Webb
Network or investigator group: Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Clinical Trials Group and School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University

Prof Anne Kelso and The Hon Brad Hazzard MP present the ACTA Trial of the Year Award to Dr Lisa Higgins, Monash University.

RUNNER-UP: Quartet Study
This multi-centre, national trial, found evidence of sustained effectiveness and tolerability of a new hypertension medication that is delivered in a low dose, four in one pill compared to standard single dose therapy
Scientific name:
Initial treatment with a single pill containing quadruple combination of quarter doses of blood pressure medicines versus standard dose monotherapy in patients with hypertension (QUARTET): a phase 3, randomised, double-blind, active controlled trial
Chief Investigator: Prof Clara Chow
Network or investigator group: The George Institute for Global Health

This trial presents evidence that salt substitute is a promising dietary alternative that lowers blood pressure, the risk of stroke and the risk of other cardiovascular events
Scientific name: Salt Substitute and Stroke Study
Chief Investigator: Prof Bruce Neal
Network or investigator group: The George Institute for Global Health

Winner - ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award

This trial presented that dexamethasone can be safely administered to patients to prevent nausea and vomiting when undergoing surgery, without concern about wound infections.
Scientific name: The PADDI Trial: The Perioperative ADministration of Dexamethasone
and Infection
Chief Investigator: Prof Tomás Corcoran
Network or investigator group: Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) Clinical Trials Network

Prof Anne Kelso and The Hon Brad Hazzard MP present the ACTA STInG Excellence in Trial Statistics Award to Prof Andrew Forbes, Monash University.


Winner - ACTA Consumer Involvement Award

This trial evaluated the reach and usefulness of a lifestyle-focused text message intervention to support women’s mental and physical health after breast cancer treatment.
Scientific name: Text messages to improve women’s self-efficacy, quality of life and health outcomes after breast cancer treatment: EMPOWER-SMS randomised clinical trial
Chief Investigator: Dr Anna Singleton
Network or investigator group: Prof Clara Chow and Prof Julie Redfern, The George Institute for Global Health

The Hon Brad Hazzard MP AND Prof Anne Kelso present the ACTA Consumer Involvement Award to Dr Anna Singleton, University of Sydney.

RUNNER-UP: Bee Pain Free
Supported by extensive consumer and carer consultation, this trial investigated the use of local honey to reduce pain in children post- tonsillectomy, as well as addressing concerns about the complexities of opioid and non-opioid analgesia treatments in the home environment.
Scientific name: A multi-centre, double-blinded, randomised controlled trial to investigate honey use to reduce pain in children post-tonsillectomy
Chief Investigator: Prof Britta von Ungern-Sternberg
Network or investigator group: Perth Children’s Hospital, Paediatric Trials Network Australia

Winner - ACTA Industry Partnership Award

WINNER: Better Knee, Better Me
This partnership, between the University of Melbourne and Medibank, saw the design and evaluation of two new programs for people with knee osteoarthritis, which were highly rated by participants and health professionals for their effectiveness, simplicity and convenience.
Scientific name: Better Knee, Better Me: Effectiveness of two scalable health care interventions supporting self-management for knee osteoarthritis – a randomized controlled trial
Chief Investigator: Prof Kim Bennell
Network or investigator group: University of Melbourne, in collaboration with Medibank

Prof Anne Kelso and The Hon Brad Hazzard MP present the ACTA Industry Partnership Award to Dr Catherine Keating, Medibank and Prof Kim Bennell, The University of Melbourne.

ACTA CEO, Dr Stewart Hay shared: “The calibre and breadth of our 2022 award winners and nominees illustrates the expertise, experience and enthusiasm for conducting clinical trials in Australia”.

“As an industry body, ACTA is committed to supporting and advocating for trial teams to ensure they can continue their great work in providing the community with access to life-changing trials”. 

“These awards provide yet another reminder why our work is so important for the sector and patient care,” said Dr Hay.

Prof Steve Webb ACTA’s Board Chair and the lead Investigator of the ACTA 2022 Trial of The Year award echoed these sentiments, “The number of clinical trials being led by Australians, and being undertaken globally, is growing year on year, and the quality of nominations for the 2022 ACTA Awards showed that our nation’s trial efforts have also never been stronger”.

“As an ICU clinician I have seen the lifesaving impact of our own REMAP-CAP Trial firsthand, but it was evident that all trial nominees shared ACTA’s vision of Better health outcomes through best evidence”, said Prof Webb.

“It is such a humbling and important time to be involved in clinical trials,” he added.

ACTA announced the winners at their sixth annual awards ceremony in Sydney that coincided with International Clinical Trials Day.  The event included esteemed guests The Hon Brad Hazzard, MP Minister for Health (NSW) and Prof Anne Kelso AO, CEO, NHMRC.