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A/Prof Peter De Cruz

A/Prof Peter De Cruz (MBBS, PhD, FRACP) is one of Australia’s leading inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) specialists; he is the Director of the IBD service at the Austin Hospital and a Senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. A/Prof De Cruz has been collaborating with the Bionics Institute for four years.

Almost 80,000 Australians live with IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease, with this number projected to increase to 100,000 by 2022. Up to 80 percent of patients with Crohn’s disease require surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery is not a cure and recurrence is common and occurs in up to 70 percent of patients. Recurrent surgery can have complications and places patients at risk of intestinal failure and the need for a stoma bag.

A/Prof De Cruz is working in collaboration with the Bionics Institute in a first-in-human clinical trial that is examining whether an implantable bionic device that stimulates a branch of the vagus nerve – a major nerve that connects the brain to the gut – can prevent the recurrence of Crohn’s disease after surgery.

A/Prof De Cruz has been highly impressed by the depth and breadth of talent within the Institute and is excited about the prospect of turning dreams into reality. The collaboration offers clinicians the chance to use state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic devices that better tailor medical therapies for patients.

Image: A/Prof James Fallon (L) and A/Prof Peter De Cruz

I feel incredibly privileged to be part of such a fantastic team that has taken a proof-of-concept from pre-clinical research, to a world first-in-human clinical trial to assist Crohn’s disease patients. The Bionics Institute is a unique medical research institute that promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration involving engineers, bench-side researchers and clinicians to help solve very complex clinical problems. The Institute attracts some of the very best and brightest in their respective fields and has provided an open forum to enable its group of clinicians and multi-disciplinary researchers to work together to address questions of unmet need. The environment has been nurtured and developed to propel the academy of health, science and medical research forward to the limits of the imagination. A/Prof Peter De Cruz

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