2015 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research announced by the Hon. Daniel Andrews

13 August
2015 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research

On Thursday, 13 August at an event at Government House, Dr Peter De Cruz was named as the Recipient of the 2015 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research by the Premier, Hon Daniel Andrews.

Dr De Cruz was presented with a certificate and $16,000 to further develop his research career.   

Crohn’s disease is a chronic bowel condition that is on the rise internationally. Eighty per cent of patients with Crohn’s disease need an operation at some time in their life.

Unfortunately even if the entire diseased intestine is removed, the disease nearly always recurs, and 70% of those who have had an operation will require more surgery.

Dr Peter De Cruz together with Professor Michael Kamm from the University of Melbourne, initiated and coordinated an international study of174 patients with Crohn’s disease to trial a more proactive approach to post-operative care. Rather than waiting until symptoms return, a colonoscopy was performed early in the postoperative period to look for signs of change to the patient’s bowel. If early changes were detected during the colonoscopy, medication was prescribed to help prevent tissue damage.

The results of this study have been outstanding and were published in The Lancet in 2014. The study found that participating patients experienced significantly fewer recurrences and required fewer surgeries than would otherwise have been required. The results have changed practice internationally.

Alongside this landmark study, Dr De Cruz also explored the role that both good and bad gut bacteria may play in causing Crohn’s disease, and the way that they may influence its severity and recurrence. Dr De Cruz’s findings have significantly advanced the field and have been instrumental in the development of therapies targeted at specific gut bacteria that may help to treat Crohn’s disease.

The three Commendees announced at the event were; Dr Daniel Pellicci, Dr Lucille Rankin and Mr James Rickard, each receiving $8,000.   

veski was honoured to deliver this prestigious awards program in 2015.

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