Pioneering the recruitment of preterm babies


In a long awaited study on preterm babies, the CTC and its partners have taken a pioneering path to ensure they get enough trial participants and can positively impact babies lives around the word.

In a past trial around the delivery of oxygen versus air to premature babies that promised to save lives, the CTC and its partners from UNSW and the University of Newcastle were unable to get enough study participants and and were forced to abandon the trial.

This prompted the team to reach out to Melinda Cruz, mother of three premature babies and co-founder of the Miracle Babies Foundation, to discuss ways to increase the number of babies benefiting from clinical trials in the delivery room. Miracle Babies Foundation provides support to families with premature and sick newborns.

This new partnership between researchers and consumers is in action in the recently funded TORPIDO30/60 trial, a collaboration between UNSW, University of Newcastle and CTC researchers that aims to compare two different concentrations of oxygen - 30% and 60% - for the initial breathing support of preterm babies. 

“Recent evidence suggests that, on average, patients across all specialties have slightly better outcomes – including survival – by taking part in Phase III trials of different treatments, like TORPIDO 30/60, than by having usual care,” explains Professor William Tarnow-Mordi, Director of Neonatal and Perinatal Trials at the CTC.

To get sufficient trial participant numbers, the new researcher and consumer team have worked with a hospital's ethics committee and agreed to waive parent consent required for participation in the trial. Oxygen levels of 30% and 60% are already administered in the hospital.

“Our research team, in partnership with Miracle Babies Foundation and the Hunter New England Research Ethics Committee, plan to publish this experience so that others can be aware of it,” Prof Willaim Tarnow-Mordi says.

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