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Curtin winning invention tackles chronic pain

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23 October 2008

Curtin University of Technology has won a 2008 WA Inventor of Year Award (Early Stage category) with their simple and inexpensive diagnostic kit that identifies people at risk of chronic pain, with the potential to bring about significant health care savings.

A team of researchers from Curtin’s Faculty of Health Sciences consisting of Professor Tony Wright and Penny Moss from the School of Physiotherapy and Associate Professor Heather Benson from the School of Pharmacy, took the top prize in the Early Stage category for their Cold Pain Test Kit, beating out two other finalists in this category from over 100 entrants overall.

Professor Wright was delighted with the outcome of the Awards and explained the potential of the invention.

“We are delighted that the kit has been recognised in this way and are very excited to take the invention to the next stage of development,” Professor Wright said.

“The Cold Pain Test Kit has the potential to have a very direct and beneficial impact on the community and can contribute to the efficiency with which GPs treat their patients and in improving the quality of care that they provide.”

Conditions such as arthritis or whiplash can induce unusually high levels of pain, which does not respond to everyday painkillers. The Cold Pain Test Kit is a simple diagnostic test that can help to identify patients at risk of developing this more severe pain.

A single-use, adhesive patch containing a plant extract substance is placed on the skin for 10 minutes, with the patient asked to record their response to the sensation on an electronic scale. Interpretative software will provide GPs with a rating of pain hypersensitivity, enabling them to make an immediate decision on what pain medication should be subscribed.

Professor Jill Downie, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences at Curtin, congratulated the winning team on their achievement.

“The Award is an excellent outcome for the effort that was invested, and I congratulate the team for their outstanding work on this project, Professor Downie said.

“The Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin leads the way in developing new strategies to improve health and this project exemplifies the quality of work being done here.”

Professor Jeanette Hacket, Curtin Vice-Chancellor, emphasised the continued efforts of the University in nurturing and developing its research talent to positively impact the community.

“Curtin has a long standing commitment to conducting excellent, industry relevant research that has practical benefits for the community,” Professor Hacket said.

“The Cold Pain Test Kit is an excellent example of how different areas within Curtin are able to come together to develop a product that transfers research value back into the community and economy.”

Modified: 23 October 2008

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