Victor Chang Lab

Translational Research

Translational Cardiovascular Research – A Watershed Moment For Heart Research

14 January 2022

Over the past 27 years, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has delivered world-class research which has produced many ground-breaking discoveries and helped improve the lives of people worldwide.

Our scientists are now embarking on a new chapter of translational cardiovascular research. This will ensure their cutting-edge work at the cellular and molecular level will be translated to our patients, and always reach those who need it the most.

What is Translational Research?

Translational research focuses on 'translating' basic science discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic.

Translational Cardiovascular Research Infographic

It’s about creating a new research and development ‘pipeline’ that our scientists will oversee at the Institute and through new collaborations both here in Australia and overseas.

This will bring our fundamental discoveries from their very earliest findings, through a series of advanced translational stages and then up into pre-clinical studies, before ultimately becoming human trials testing out new treatments or new medical devices – and from there to widespread clinical use.

What translational research is the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute doing?

The Institute has recently joined forces with a team of internationally renowned Australian researchers and institutions to establish the Australian Stroke & Heart Research Accelerator (“ASHRA”).

The first of its kind translational centre was made possible through a $10 million grant from the Federal Government’s Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA) initiative, delivered by MTPConnect.

The Institute’s scientists will focus on accelerating two main projects – the world’s first durable artificial heart, and how to better screen drugs that can potentially cause arrhythmias.

The Institute has already partnered with Ventri Clinical to drive new innovative MedTech solutions to heart disease. This partnership will accelerate the development and testing of new technologies.

The Institute has also recently established Western Australia’s first dedicated centre of cardiovascular research, and has exciting plans to develop its operations and to partner with leading organisations who excel in delivering large scale clinical trials, and in developing new heart disease medications.

Professor Livia Hool At Her WA Lab

Translational Research as the Institute’s Direction

As our Executive Director Professor Jason Kovacic explains, this will have a fundamental impact on the Institute.

"We’ve always been dedicated to ensuring that our discoveries deliver on their promise, and we’ve been able to do this with many of our research projects such as our research in heart transplantation," says Professor Kovacic.

"But we want there to be continuous pathway for our breakthroughs, so that potential new treatments can reach patients as quickly and efficiently as possible. That means having a whole new translational research pipeline ready to go, so that our early discoveries move on from pre-clinical studies to clinical trials and then to regular patient use as seamlessly as possible.

"This new way of working to actively 'translate' our discoveries to patients will deliver new treatments, medications and strategies for heart disease that will reach patients with an efficiency and speed that hasn’t so far been possible.”

"To develop a translational pipeline, you need a scientific engine room that is churning out critical new discoveries of candidate genes, molecules, cells and other agents that hold promise as clinical therapeutics for patients. Over the last 26 years, VCCRI has nurtured and grown that discovery science engine room into a world-class enterprise. Now we need the translational pipeline to accelerate those discoveries up to patients."

Professor Peter Macdonald Heart Transplant Research

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal of the Eora nation, on which we meet, work, and discover.
Our Western Australian laboratories pay their respect to the Whadjuk Noongar who remain as the ongoing spiritual and cultural custodians of their land.