QUT Joins Artificial Heart Frontiers Program Consortium

QUT has joined the Artificial Heart Frontiers Program (AHFP), a transdisciplinary consortium that aims to develop and commercialise a suite of revolutionary and life-changing implantable cardiac devices.

The program, led by Monash University and based at the Monash Alfred Baker Centre for Cardiovascular Research at The Alfred Hospital, was awarded a $50 million grant from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to develop and commercialise three critical devices to treat the most common forms of heart failure.

The AHFP is developing the BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart, a Left Ventricular Assist Device, and the MiniPump.

The QUT program, led by Professor Shaun Gregory, will receive $8.3 million of the MRFF grant to develop and commercialise the Mini Pump. This device can be implanted in a minimally invasive procedure for patients who have no other mechanical circulatory support options and are limited to pharmaceutical therapies and end-of-life care.

“The Mini-Pump will help patients who have a specific type of heart failure that at the moment is completely unaddressed, so it’s a big priority for our team,” he said.

Professor Gregory, with the QUT School of Mechanical, Medical and Process Engineering, is the director of the QUT Centre for Biomedical Technologies and co-director of the Artificial Heart Frontiers Program.

“Central to the Frontiers Program is the creation of a complete cardiac device ecosystem in Australia encompassing research, clinical trials, commercialisation and the development of new manufacturing capabilities,” said Professor Gregory.

“The funding for this program will take it to the next level.”

Professor Gregory said the Artificial Heart Frontiers Program could be “a game-changer for the treatment of heart failure in Australia.

“It is expected to reduce the numbers of deaths by heart failure while improving their longevity and quality of life,” he said.

Professor David Kaye, AHFP co-director and director of Cardiology at The Alfred, said the average survival of a heart failure patient was comparable to some cancers at just five years and was even less for patients with advanced heart failure, who were the people the program’s devices would most benefit.

“Heart failure is a chronic progressive condition in which patients suffer from debilitating symptoms including persistent breathlessness and fatigue, that frequently require hospitalisation at great cost.”

The Artificial Heart Frontiers Program members include BiVACOR founder and the Australian designer of the Total Artificial Heart, Dr Daniel Timms. Based in the US, Dr Timms is a QUT graduate and was awarded QUT Young Alumnus of the Year.

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