Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) pose the greatest threat to human health globally. The dramatic rise in early onset NCDs – such as childhood obesity, the allergy epidemic and an increasing burden of mental ill health in children and youth – reflect the profound early impact of modern environments on developing systems. The ORIGINS Project is a research platform enabling world class investigation of early antecedent pathways to NCDs, and how to curtail these. As well as facilitating strategic long-term research capacity, ORIGINS is a pipeline for short-term productivity through a series of clinical trials, early interventions, mechanistic studies, and targeted research questions to improve maternal and paternal health and the early environment.
ORIGINS is a decade-long collaborative initiative between the Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) and the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) to establish a Western Australian (WA) birth cohort of 10,000 families, enrolled during pregnancy. It is currently funded to follow up participating children and their families to five years of age. Comprehensive data and biological samples are collected from participants at up to 15 different timepoints, from the first antenatal clinic visit. In the process, ORIGINS is creating a major research platform, consisting of an extensive, world class biobank and databank. Of key strength and novelty, ORIGINS includes a series of harmonised nested sub-projects integrated with clinical and diagnostic services and providing real-time feedback to improve the health of individuals and the community.
At its core, ORIGINS aims to improve the health and quality of life of the next generation through improved pathways to optimise the early environment and reduce adversity by promoting primary prevention, early detection and early intervention. This dynamic, interactive, community-based project not only provides novel research capacity, productivity, collaboration and translational impact on future generations – it is also anticipated to have flow on benefits for community engagement, cohesion and purpose. This will provide a sentinel example for tailored replication in other communities around the world as part of interconnected grass root strategies to improve planetary health.
Funding source: Paul Ramsay Foundation
Funding source: The Department of Health, The Commonwealth of Australia
Funding source: TELETHON - PERTH CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL RESEARCH FUND
The ORIGINS Project is only possible because of the enthusiasm and commitment of the children and parents in ORIGINS. We are grateful to all the participants, health professionals and researchers who have made The ORIGINS Project happen.
We would also like to acknowledge and thank the following teams and individuals who have made this project possible: the ORIGINS project team; the CEO Dr Kempton Cowan and executive staff of JHC; the obstetric, neonatal and paediatric teams of JHC; Mayor Tracey Roberts, the City of Wanneroo; Mayor Albert Jacobs, the City of Joondalup; Professor Jonathan Carapetis, Director of TKI; Professor Fiona Stanley, the patron of ORIGINS; members of the CRG and PRG; the Executive Group, the Scientific Committee; the Project Management Group; and all the Research Interest Groups.
Research funding: ORIGINS initially received start-up funding from JHC, TKI and the Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund. In October 2017 ORIGINS received A$26 million over a 10-year period from the Australian Government and a philanthropic organisation, The Paul Ramsay Foundation via Telethon, to cover the core funding of ORIGINS. This is the first time in the history of Australian research that the Australian Government has funded a 10-year research project that focuses on prevention and early detection. Sub-projects are required to provide their own funding.
Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.
Competing interests: The authors state no conflict of interest.
Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.
Ethical approval: Ethics approval was granted by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Joondalup Health Campus, ref 1440. The research related to human use complied with all the relevant national regulations and institutional policies and was performed in accordance with the tenets of the Helsinki Declaration, and has been approved by the authors’ institutional review board or equivalent committee. Informed consent is not applicable. The conducted research is not related to animal use.
Availability of data and material: Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
Unpublished material: The authors state that the work described is not copyrighted, published, or submitted elsewhere, except possibly in abstract form.
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