Menopause / Barbara Gross Reseach Unit
The Sydney Menopause Centre was established in 1978, making it one of the longest-established menopause units in Australia. It has an international reputation for its research in women’s health and it's clinical application is at the Royal Hospital for Women.
The Barbara Gross Research Unit (BGRU) was established in 1997, originally to undertake clinical trials of hormone replacement therapy. Over the last 20 years the unit has developed a strong record in women’s health and has broadened its focus to include research into osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, lipid-lowering strategies and genito-urinary problems in both men and women. In the past decade, the BGRU’s research agenda has further expanded to include herbal, drug and alternative therapies (for menopausal symptoms, low libido, nausea, dysmenorrhoea and sexual problems post-treatment for breast cancer), medical devices and multicultural studies. We have an extensive network of national and international collaborators. We now routinely perform phase 2 and 3 trials as well as take part in large international, multi-centered RCTs.
Dr Sheila O'Neill
Senior Medical Officer
P: (02) 9382 6621
The BGRU has always performed clinical trials for large international companies, but over the last decade we have also helped small Australian companies develop and test their products.
Our research focus includes the following:
Menopause symptom control
Recent projects have included the testing of hormonal and non-hormonal therapies, with particular reference to hot flushes, night sweats and sleep disturbance. A long-term study has also focused on control of hot flushes to enhance quality of life following breast cancer treatment.
New frontiers in contraception
Studies include a trial of a new oral contraceptive pill, and the assessment of the efficacy and tolerability of new contraceptive devices and techniques. One of the contraceptive devices we developed and tested on 86 women over five years has been given FDA approval in the US.
Osteoporosis and bone health
A five-year longitudinal project (1000 women screened; 100 recruited) studied the effect of a hormone therapy on the incidence of spinal fracture among post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. Other studies have included research into the efficacy of various drugs designed to prevent menopausal bone loss.
Sexual desire, disorders and dysfunction
We have conducted several testosterone patch studies, a vaginal oestrogen study and a study of the effects of a non-hormonal therapy on vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse.
Pelvic pain, bleeding disorders and endometriosis
Pioneering research is being conducted into the treatment of pelvic pain, uterine fibroids and endometriosis – including the development of an endometrial cell test, and a study of the efficacy of long-term use of botulinum toxin in relieving pelvic floor muscle spasm.
Metabolic and mood disorders
Projects have included studies of diabetes and weight loss, lipid-lowering agents and the efficacy of complementary therapies in reducing anxiety.
Future Research & Development at BGRU
- Non-hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms
- Dose-ranging studies for herbal products
- Efficacy and safety of complementary medicines (CAMS) for benign chronic conditions
- Role of CAMS in treating menopausal symptoms in women from different ethnic groups
- The contribution of hormones to emotional states and cognitive function
- Biology of the endometrium
- Pelvic pain
- Pudendal neuralgia
- Quality of life in cancer survivors
- Studies of devices being developed for contraception, urinary dysfunction & prolapse
The menopause clinics provide clinical care for complex menopause cases as well as teaching of undergraduate medical students and RANZCOG trainees.
The BGRU takes a number of Phase 2 students each year for ILP projects.
As a first point-of-contact please contact Prof John Eden by email.