Home' InDaily : April 22nd 2010 Contents Vol21No3April2010|7
It is ironic that Ann Angel had to go
overseas to find out that some of the
best medical devices and health services
expertise in the world existed in her own
backyard -- at Flinders University.
The Chief Executive Officer of RianCorp
Pty Ltd -- a company that pioneered the
use of low level lasers to treat
lymphoedema, a swelling of the arms
that sometimes follows breast cancer
surgery -- found that Flinders researchers
were highly regarded by their peers but
sometimes little known in Australia.
Ms Angel is now playing a part in
remedying that situation as the Project
Manager of the Medical Device
Partnering Program led by Flinders
University -- a highly effective research
and development program funded by the
South Australian Government in
partnership with the University of
Adelaide, University of South Australia,
Novita Children's Services and the Office
for the Ageing.
On 29 April at the Southern Innovation
Forum, Ms Angel will recount her
experience of a successful collaboration
Medical Device Partnering Program on the move
Study group comes of age
Ann Angel and medical devices
"Longevity is influenced by these factors,
as is engagement with the community;
cognition, health, and other personal and
social resources allow individuals to
maintain autonomy. Physical activity or
exercise also affects longevity, so it is very
important for older people, even the very
old, to keep moving around."
Data from the study has been widely
used, particularly in informing policy, and
it is likely that analysis and spin-off
qualitative research projects will
continue for years to come.
The most comprehensive single study of
ageing of its kind in Australia, the
Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing
(ALSA), will commence its eleventh wave
of data collection next month.
The ALSA is concerned with identifying
the factors that influence healthy ageing
and promote longevity and the resources
needed to achieve improved health in
In its first year, ALSA had 2087
participants aged over 65 living in the
Adelaide area. Active study participants
now number less than 300 individuals,
ranging in age from 83 to 108.
Psychology Professor Mary Luszcz, who is
Director of the Flinders Centre for Ageing
Studies and ALSA's Chief Investigator, said
that although the survey has lost around
80 per cent of its sample through death,
the insights provided by the remaining
group would be significant.
"This group represents the most robust
segment of the original sample. They are
now mainly over 85 and this age group is
the fastest growing segment of the
population, and will remain so over the
next couple of decades. We have all this
between the private sector and Flinders
University over a period of five years to
2006 when RianCorp received the Food
and Drug Administration approval
required to operate in the United States.
Ms Angel told Flinders Journal that the
knowledge and experience she tapped at
Flinders was vital to successfully gaining
"Flinders has the depth of research
expertise and understanding that
companies, particularly smaller ones,
cannot afford in-house. So companies are
able to tap into that intellectual
knowledge available at the University
rather than hiring some key research
staff," Ms Angel said.
"However, I have found that some of the
researchers are reluctant to fly their own
flags and it was only while discussing our
lymphoedema treatment with overseas
colleagues that I found out how well
Flinders was regarded," she said.
"The collaborative relationship is
on-going in RianCorp's case. I feed
information that I hear back to the
researchers who can interpret it for me
historical information on what these
people were like earlier in life that has
got them to this point. We can compare
their history to that of people who didn't
make it to this point," she said.
So what is the key to a long and happy life?
"The research has shown the importance
of maintaining social relationships and
community engagement for successful
ageing. Additionally, researchers have
found that for older individuals feeling 'in
control' and 'feeling good about oneself'
appear to be important factors,"
Professor Luszcz said.
Ann Angel and medical devices
Study participant Sylvia Allen (left) with researcher Lyn Butler
and now, when the Flinders people have
commercial queries, I can help out on
The Medical Device Partnering Program
was established with State Government
support two years ago and has now
helped 68 companies -- from early stage
feasibility and analytical work to advice
on product commercialisation.
The success of the program has recently
led the State Government to announce
that it plans to spend $2 million
expanding the program nationally over
the next four years.
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