Melbourne: Melburnians are taking part in a world first trial led by Monash University that could see a simple one-off vaccination protect against heart attack and stroke. The trial, which started late last year, aims to determine whether the pneumococcal vaccine can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to 20 per cent. Observational studies indicate the injection can lead to a 17 per cent protection against cardiovascular disease, but this is the first large scale study to be conducted.
The Australian Study for the Prevention through
Immunisation of Cardiovascular Events (AUSPICE) trial is being
coordinated by the Centre for Cardiovascular Research and Education in
Therapeutics (CCRET) within the Monash University School of Public
Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM). The trial is led by Principal
Investigator Professor Andrew Tonkin and assisted by Dr Ingrid Hopper
and will be based at Caulfield Hospital.
AUSPICE is recruiting up
to 3000 men and women aged 55 to 60 years across six centres in
Melbourne, Newcastle, Gosford, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.
study will formally test whether the existing pneumococcal vaccine can
not only reduce invasive pneumococcal disease but also help to prevent
heart attack and stroke. The pneumococcal vaccine protects against
diseases such as meningitis and is currently free under the National
Immunise Australia Program for people over 65, children and Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander adults and children.
According to Dr
Hopper, if the trial proves to be successful it will signify a major
change in preventative health practice globally.
“If shown to be
effective, it would be relatively easy to incorporate changes into
clinical practice because the pneumococcal vaccine is safe and has
already been used in Australia for over 20 years in a different target
group,” Dr Hopper said.
Victorian volunteers, aged 60-64, are
asked to attend a single clinic at the Caulfield Clinical Trials Centre
in Melbourne, for less than one hour. People with at least two risk
factors for heart disease – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or
overweight/obesity – will be randomised to receive either the active
vaccine or a saline placebo.
This collaboration between Monash
University, the University of Newcastle, Australian National University,
Flinders University and The University of Western Australia comprises a
large multidisciplinary team including cardiologists, epidemiologists,
neurologists, nurse immunisers, pharmacists, public health and medicine
physicians and biostatisticians.
The researchers will link, via
the Federal Department of Health hospital admission records, the
incidence of cardiovascular disease requiring hospitalisation amongst
those who received the vaccine and those who received the placebo.
To register interest call freephone number 1800 199108 or visit the website.