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RCSI National Surgical Research Support Centre Launches First Surgical Trial

The first surgical trial supported by the RCSI National Surgical Research Support Centre (NSRSC) has been launched. The PROPEL-2 trial will investigate if a new type of wound dressing called Negative Pressure Wound Therapy is better than current standard wound dressings at reducing surgical wound infections, improving scar appearance and quality of life for patients having surgery on their abdomen.

The trial will also involve analysing the costs associated with the dressings themselves from a patient and healthcare perspective to decide which type of dressing should be used for these surgical wounds in future.

Led by surgeons Claire Donohoe and Noel Donlon, based at St James’s Hospital, Dublin this multi-site trial is currently open in five other hospitals and will ultimately be open in 14 hospitals across the country.

The NSRSC is a newly established coordination hub for surgical trials. It aims to support an increase in the number of multi-centre surgical trials being conducted in Ireland. The centre supports surgeons with navigating the regulatory and ethics systems, hospital set-up procedures, opening trials in multiple hospitals and associated administrative workload involved in conducting trials in Ireland. The centre provides training and support in trial design, data collection and statistical analysis and sponsorship can also be arranged for trials where required.

By establishing a surgical trial network comprising teams of surgeons, allied health professionals, researchers, trial coordinators and patient partners, the future vision is that research will be embedded as part of routine clinical care ensuring every patient has access to excellent innovative healthcare.

One key area of focus is on infection prevention in patients undergoing a variety of surgical procedures with PROPEL-2 being the first trial to address this in patients undergoing abdominal surgery. The EVELOP and PINTA trials will be opening soon to investigate best wound care management strategies to reduce surgical wound infections for pilonidal sinus disease and limb amputations.

Other projects receiving the Centre’s support include nine investigator-led trials and four international studies tackling big issues in healthcare, including surgical site infections, diabetic foot disease, appendicitis, bariatric surgery, vascular complications, cancer, neurosurgical disorders and orthopaedic conditions.

Kieran Ryan is Managing Director of Surgical Affairs at RCSI. He welcomed the launch of the PROPEL-2 study and said that, “through the NSRSC, RCSI is working to foster a culture of high quality research studies and trials that investigate scientifically and clinically-relevant research questions to address patient needs. The enthusiasm of surgeons to participate is evident by the commitment of surgeons at 14 sites across Ireland to participate in the PROPEL-2 trial. Evidence shows that patients participating in trials have better health outcomes. By increasing the number of trials and the number of participating sites, we are giving patients from all regions the chance to participate in trials without having to travel to the major hospital units.” 

Source: RCSI

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