What is the Blood Synergy?

The NHMRC Blood Synergy is a large program of research that includes clinical studies, trials, and patient registries concerned with blood transfusion practice and patient outcomes.  We’re focused on making better use of blood products and improving outcomes for patients requiring blood as a result of trauma, critical illness, or blood disease.

The Blood Synergy was recognised with the inaugural Fiona Stanley Synergy Grant Award at the NHMRC Research Excellence Awards.

Find out more:  An Overview of the Blood Synergy Program

The problem

Used wisely, blood transfusions save lives.  However, there still exist limitations in ensuring their best use:  1. Blood products are not always available when and where they are needed, and 2. We don’t always have evidence to guide the way we use blood in different clinical scenarios.

The unexpected nature of many bleeding events combined with the labile nature of blood products presents the first challenge.  Treatment of major haemorrhage requires urgent delivery of large volumes of red blood cells, platelets and plasma.  Access to these products in out-of-hospital or remote settings is limited, due to the short shelf-life of blood products, and logistics of supply, storage and delivery in rural locations.  The outcome is a significant delay in the timely delivery of blood products, and an increased risk of death.

The second significant challenge is the lack of evidence to guide best practice.  Patient blood management (PBM) is an approach that places patient outcomes at the core of blood transfusion.  It is international best practice, supported by the World Health Organization, health policy-makers, and professional societies.  However, evidence in many areas is inadequate to formulate solid PBM recommendations, including on how blood is used, clinical outcomes, patient and clinician preferences, and costs.  The result is a potentially inefficient, and ineffective use of blood, with reduced patient benefit.

The solution

The Blood Synergy program is focused on addressing these shortcomings by testing new products and closing evidence-gaps, particularly in areas of high-volume use, high risk to patients, and high product costs.

Key to this endeavour is better knowledge around how blood is currently used across Australia.  To establish the current standard of care, we are using observational studies, and expanding our established massive transfusion registry into a dataset collating information on all types of transfusions.  Together these data will identify areas of greatest need and improvement.

To improve blood use, we are exploring ways to increase access to blood components in prehospital and rural and remote settings by examining alternatives to conventional blood products, such as those with an extended shelf-life.  We are also using interventional studies to evaluate how blood products can be most efficiently and effectively used in the treatment of critical bleeding and critically ill patients.

Similarly, we are closing evidence gaps in the prevention and management of bleeding, anaemia and infection in blood diseases through a range of clinical trials.  These studies will identify any unnecessary use of blood products in treatment of blood cancers, with the aim of improving patient outcomes as well as reducing transfusion risks and cost.

Meet the Team

Our team consists of national and international leaders in blood transfusion, bleeding disorders, trauma medicine, and intensive care, as well as laboratory science, health policy and health economics.

Professor Erica Wood

Principal Investigator

Monash University

Associate Professor Zoe McQuilten

Chief Investigator

Monash University

Professor Peter Cameron

Chief Investigator

Monash University

Professor David (Jamie) Cooper AC

Chief Investigator

The Alfred Hospital

Professor Michael Reade AM

Chief Investigator

The University of Queensland

Dr Alisa Higgins

Chief Investigator

Monash University

Professor Judith Trotman

Chief Investigator

Concord Repatriation General Hospital

Professor Simon Stanworth

Chief Investigator

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, UK

Linley Bielby

Chief Investigator

Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria

Dr Allison Mo

Associate Investigator

Monash University

Dr Andrew Flint

Associate Investigator

Monash University

Professor Anthony Harris

Associate Investigator

Monash University

Dr Brenton Sanderson

Associate Investigator

Macquarie University

Associate Professor Craig French

Associate Investigator

Western Health

Professor Enrico Coiera

Associate Investigator

Macquarie University

Adjunct Associate Professor John Reynolds

Associate Investigator

Monash University

Adjunct Associate Professor Rosemary Sparrow

Associate Investigator

Monash University

Dr Adam Irving

Research Fellow

Monash University

Dr Khai Li Chai

PhD Student

Monash University

Professor Biswadev Mitra

Partner Investigator

Monash University

Dr James Winearls

Partner Investigator

Gold Coast University Hospital

Associate Professor Jake Shortt

Partner Investigator

Monash University

Dr Karina Brady

Program Manager

Monash University

Neil Waters

Senior Projects Manager

Monash University

Dr Cameron Wellard

Data Manager

Monash University