The Hudson Institute’s Dr Claudia Nold will use a competitive Heart Foundation Fellowship and Innovation Award to help develop new treatments for cardiopulmonary diseases in preterm babies.
Dr Nold was awarded the top-ranked Heart Foundation Victoria Future Leader Fellowship Award for her research into Bronchopulminary Dysplasia and Pulmonary Hypertension. The fellowship includes four years funding.
She also won the highly-competitive $20,000 Paul Korner Innovation Award at a ceremony in Melbourne on Friday (October 30), where she made a special presentation on her work.
An immunologist with an expertise in inflammation, Dr Nold is working to develop new anti-inflammatory therapies for clinical use in pre-term babies.
“Prematurity is one of the leading causes of infant deaths, with survival rates as low as 30 per cent in the tiniest of tiny patients,” Dr Nold said.
“The immature organs of pre-term babies mean they often suffer from Bronchopulminary Dysplasia and Pulmonary Hypertension, severe diseases affecting the heart and lungs.
“There is still no safe and effective way to treat these diseases in pre-term babies, and no early diagnostic test, which presents an urgent unmet medical need.”
With strong links between the immune system and inflammation on cardiovascular disease recently established, Dr Nold’s research at the Hudson Institute offers hope for these tiny patients.
“I discovered we can utilise one of the body’s key anti-inflammatory Molecules called Interleukin 1 Receptor antagonist to dramatically reduces the severity of lung disease in the newborn,” Dr Nold said.
“We also discovered a potent anti-inflammatory molecule, named Interleukin-37, which has untapped therapeutic potential for cardiopulmonary diseases in the preterm and even beyond.
Dr Nold is also working on finding biomarkers in the premature immune system, to enable doctors to give early diagnoses of heart and lung diseases.
“Together with a very talented team of scientists and clinicians at the Hudson Institute, collaborations within Australia and internationally, I am developing strategies to introduce new anti-inflammatory therapies for preterm babies to clinical use,” Dr Nold said.
“The Heart foundation and the Paul Korner award provide me with the support I need to achieve my vision, which is to reduce premature death of our tiniest patients from cardiopulmonary diseases.”