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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) Clinical Pharmacology Unit was the first hospital pharmacology unit in Australia, and now provides both a routine diagnostic clinical service and an active medical research program affiliated with the Discipline of Pharmacology at The University of Adelaide. Our aim is, wherever possible, to combine both clinical service and basic research, so as to translate new research findings into new laboratory and clinical skills that contribute to state-of-the-art clinical care of patients.

Led by Associate Professor Betty Sallustio, the Unit’s research group focuses on the areas of heart disease, kidney transplantation and cancer. We aim to individualise drug therapy through the use of therapeutic drug monitoring, particularly of immunosuppressant drugs used in kidney transplantation and the anti-anginal agent perhexiline in cardiac care. Through research in these fields we strive to provide a better understanding of drug action, metabolism and disposition in patients with varied genetic makeup in order to better use these agents and tailor them to each individual, and to develop new therapies.

Researchers

Additional Staff Members

NamePosition
Bron LettResearch Officer
Fiona WicksSenior Technical Officer
Catherine DeNichiloTechnical Officer
Denise DinnowTechnical Officer
Zac BowdenTechnical Officer

Student Alumni

NameDegreeYear AwardedThesis titleSupervisors
Dr Zaipul Md DomPhD, The University of Adelaide2017Mycophenolic Acid Pharmacokinetics and Clinical Outcomes in Renal Transplantation: Effect of ABCC2 Haplotype Analysis and Distribution into Lymphocytes and KidneySallustio BC, Somogyi AA, Coller JK
Dr Cher-Rin ChongPhD, The University of Adelaide2017A pharmacological approach towards myocardial protection: new perspectives in acute and chronic cardiac diseaseHorowitz JD and Sallustio BC
Dr John LicariPhD, The University of Adelaide2013The stereoselective pharmacodynamics of the enantiomers of perhexilineSallustio BC, Somogyi AA and Milne RW
Metabolic Treatments for Heart Disease and Cancer

Altered cellular energy metabolism is an underlying feature of both heart disease and cancer. In heart disease, maladaptive changes in energy utilisation and storage contribute to a decline in myocardial function and structural remodelling. In cancer cells, changes in energy utilisation allow increased cell survival, replication and metastasis. In addition, some cancer chemotherapy agents cause myocardial damage. Therefore, it is possible that drugs designed for treatment of heart disease, may also be useful adjunct therapies in cancer.

Individualising Transplantation Therapy

The success of kidney transplantation depends largely on preventing rejection of the new organ, using a combination of immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs have narrow therapeutic indices and can cause renal, gastrointestinal or haematological toxicity. Due to significant variability in their elimination from the body, doses are currently individualised by targeting therapeutic concentrations in the blood. Despite this, rejection and toxicity still occur. Our research focuses on understanding immunosuppressant distribution into lymphocytes (the mediators of rejection) and renal tissue (a major site of toxicity), as a means of better predicting individual risk of rejection and damage to the transplanted organ.

Clinical Pharmacology Research Group’s Publications and Patents

Please visit the PUBLICATIONS page on Associate Professor Betty Sallustio’s University of Adelaide Researcher Profile.

PATENTS

March 2014: Provisional patent application: “New Indications for (-)-Perhexiline”. BC Sallustio, G Licari, P Milner, P Druzgula

September 2013: Uses of (-)-Perhexiline. International Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) Patent Application #PCT/AU2013/001008 (Filed 5 September 2013).

September 2012: Sallustio BC, Milne RW, Licari G and Somogyi AA. Use of Enantiomers of Perhexiline. Provisional Patent Application #2012903850, Australia (Lodged Sep 5, 2012).

September 2012: Sallustio BC, Milne RW, Licari G and Somogyi AA. Use of Enantiomers of Perhexiline. Provisional Patent Application #61697214, USA (Lodged Sep 5, 2012).

Funding since 2012

Chief InvestigatorsGranting BodyProject TitleTotal Grant AmountFunding Period
BC Sallustio, A Evdokiou, JD Horowitz, NHMRC – Project Grant (APP1145776)
Prevention of heart damage during anthracycline cancer chemotherapy$327,2142018-2020
AA Somogyi, BC Sallustio, JK Coller, M Hutchinson, D Barratt The University of Adelaide - Pharmacology Equipment RoundUltra high performance liquid chromotography - tandem mass spectrometer$302,000
2017
BC Sallustio, A Evdokiou, JD HorowitzCancer SA – Beat Cancer ProjectPrevention of heart damage during anthracycline cancer chemotherapy$75,0002016

BC SallustioAdelaide Research and Innovation (ARI), Commercial funding from Heat Metabolics Ltd. $150,0002014-2015

BC Sallustio, JD Horowitz, JA Kennedy, MP FrenneauxNational Heart Foundation - Grant-in-aidUtility of (+)- and (-)-perhexiline as model compounds for the development of new myocardial metabolic agents$130,0002012-2013
CollaboratorInstitutionCityCountry
Professor John Horowitz, Leader Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Therapeutics GroupBasil Hetzel Institute, The Queen Elizabeth HospitalAdelaideAustralia
Professor Andreas Evdokiou, Leader Breast Cancer Research UnitBasil Hetzel Institute, The Queen Elizabeth HospitalAdelaideAustralia
Professor Andrew Somogyi, Dr Janet Coller, Dr Daniel BarrattThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
Dr Robert Carroll, Dr Shilpa JesudasonRoyal Adelaide HospitalAdelaideAustralia
Dr Melanie MadhaniInstitute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of BirminghamBirminghamUnited Kingdom
Professor Michael FrenneauxNorwich Medical School, University of East AngliaNorwichUnited Kingdom
Dr Cher-Rin ChongUniversity of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom