News items Millions in funding for research on adhesions, depression, and antibiotic use

31 May 2024

Three projects from Radboud university medical center have received funding from the BeNeFIT program, a collaboration between ZonMW and its Belgian counterpart KCE. All three projects involve major clinical studies conducted in various hospitals across the Netherlands and Belgium. These studies focus on surgery, psychiatry, and intensive care.

These are the awarded projects:

Addressing abdominal adhesions in two steps

Principal Investigator: Richard ten Broek, Radboudumc (Surgery)
Belgian Coordinator: A.M. Wolthuis, University Hospital Leuven
Budget: €1.2 million

Patients with adhesions, scar tissue from a previous abdominal surgery, sometimes develop a condition known as adhesive small bowel obstruction, where the intestine gets trapped in the adhesions. This causes acute abdominal pain, a bloated abdomen, nausea, and vomiting. There are two options: a new surgery to cut the adhesion and free the trapped bowel or relieving the pressure using a gastric tube to allow the intestine to untwist. Surgery can cause new scar tissue, and during the acute phase, patients are poorly nourished, and the intestine is often bloated, making immediate surgery risky and sometimes fatal. However, treatment with a gastric tube often results in recurrent symptoms, and patients seem off worse in the long term. This project investigates a combined approach where the patient initially receives a gastric tube, followed by surgery after the acute phase. Barrier agents will be used to prevent adhesions from regrowing. Researchers will monitor disease recurrence, abdominal pain, and nutritional issues in 420 patients across 12 hospitals.

Treating depression with magnetic brain stimulation and cognitive control training

Principal Investigator: Philip van Eijndhoven, Radboudumc (Psychiatry)
Project Leader: Iris Dalhuisen, Radboudumc
Belgian Coordinator: C. Baeken, University Hospital Brussels
Budget: €0.9 million

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is an effective treatment for depression, but its effectiveness can be enhanced by combining rTMS with other effective treatments. Cognitive control training (CCT) has proven to be an effective addition to standard treatment and can be easily performed during the rTMS session. Combining rTMS and CCT may further enhance the effects of both treatments. This study compares the combination of rTMS + CCT with rTMS alone. Since CCT can be conducted during the rTMS session, it is a convenient and cost-effective way to increase effectiveness without extending treatment duration. Researchers will also study long-term effects by following patients for a year, expecting that CCT will reduce the risk of relapse.

Higher doses and shorter duration of antibiotics in the ICU

Principal Investigator: J.J.H.C. De Waele, University Hospital Ghent
Dutch Coordinator: Jeroen Schouten, Radboudumc (ICU)
Co-Applicants Netherlands: Nynke Jager and Roger Br├╝ggemann
Budget: €2.8 million

Existing treatment methods for severe infections in the ICU present a paradox: in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the current antibiotic dosages are not high enough for all patients, but also that the treatment duration could potentially be shortened. This not only affects patient treatment but also impacts the development of antimicrobial resistance. In this clinical study, called the HIT HARD study, the researchers hope to establish that a shorter course of antibiotics is just as safe and effective as the current treatment but may be associated with a shorter ICU stay. Fourteen hospitals in the Netherlands and Belgium are participating in the study.

About BeNeFIT

BeNeFIT (Belgium-Netherlands Funding of International Trials) is a competitive funding program for healthcare professionals to perform large, multicentric, randomized clinical trials to answer important healthcare questions. The program is a collaboration between 2 funders, the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) and ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Care innovation, who have been funding this joint call since 2018. For more information: KCE ZonMw

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Annemarie Eek

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