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Orthopaedic surgery researcher Prof Haxby Abbott is one of 53 recipients who have received grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) in a $78.92 million funding allocation for new and innovative research into some of New Zealand’s most pressing health concerns.
He said osteoarthritis was among the most common long-term conditions in New Zealand, and the burden of pain, disability and economic costs was rising — especially for Maori.
Access to treatments was poor.
Joint replacement surgery was highly cost-effective, but demand — which was already straining capacity — was growing rapidly.
Prof Abbott said cost-effective interventions for early and mid-stage osteoarthritis were known to have good outcomes and were potentially cost-saving compared with present practice, but were not being delivered.
Multi-morbidity was common.
"Coping with future demand will require optimising resource allocation," he said.
He said his programme of research consisted of four linked multi-disciplinary projects which would look at ways to deliver the best value for money and equity in managing osteoarthritis in the New Zealand public healthcare system, from prevention through to joint replacement surgery.
HRC chief executive Prof Sunny Collings said the $78.92million awarded in this funding round included four programme grants ($19.99 million in total), five Rangahau Hauora Maori project grants ($5.87 million in total), three Pacific project grants ($3.53 million in total) and 41 general project grants ($49.51 million in total).
Other University of Otago researchers to receive 2022 HRC grants. —
Programme grants: Prof Lisa Stamp ($4,998,486 for strategies to improve gout management in New Zealand).
Maori project grants: Dr Paula King ($1,199,536 for research on community wellbeing for whanau with lived experience of incarceration).
General project grants: Prof Wickliffe Abraham ($1,197,310 for research into neuron-glia regulation of plasticity in health and neuroinflammatory diseases); Dr Rosemary Brown ($1,199,908 for research on hormones and mood); Dr Tim Chambers ($1,199,508 to study the impact of nitrate in drinking water on preterm birth); Prof Catherine Day ($1,199,533 to study wingless-related integration site signalling); Dr Jack Dummer ($1,086,230 for the development of rifampicin as a dry powder inhaler for tuberculosis); Prof Richard Gearry ($1,199,994 for novel biomarker validation to guide treatment in inflammatory bowel disease); Dr Jemma Geoghegan ($1,196,858 for genomic epidemiology of human respiratory viruses); Prof David Grattan ($1,199,969 for hormone-induced adaptations in respiratory function during pregnancy); Prof Parry Guilford ($1,199,413 to research a single-cell transcriptomic approach to gastric cancer heterogeneity); Associate Prof Keith Ireton ($1,199,984 to research the role of polarised exocyosis in infection of host cells by pathogenic E. coli); Prof Roslyn Kemp ($1,190,405 to study immune cells, bacteria and epithelium in Crohn’s disease patients); Dr Sharon Ladyman ($1,197,681 to study orexigenic AgRP neurons during pregnancy and lactation); Dr Rebecca McLean ($1,198,285 (out-of-home mobility of Maori and non-Maori over 65); Prof Alexander McLellan ($1,199,975 for a dual safety system to promote CAR T cell activation and migration); Dr Matthew McNeil ($1,199,544 to target metabolic dysregulation to eradicate drug resistant M. tuberculosis); Dr Rory Miller ($1,199,642 to evaluate a bedside high-sensitivity troponin within a rural chest pain pathway); Associate Prof Garry Nixon ($1,199,916 to understand the impact of rurality on health outcomes and healthcare delivery); Prof Stephen Robertson ($1,199,831 to bring precision to the diagnosis of complex neurodevelopmental disorders); and Associate Prof Logan Walker ($1,190,889 to improve genetic health through RNA diagnostics).