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$12 million for research to improve treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke patients

The Australian Government, together with the National Heart Foundation, is announcing a further $12 million for research to improve treatment of people, including children, suffering cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Morrison Government, together with the National Heart Foundation, is announcing a further $12 million for research to improve treatment of people, including children, suffering cardiovascular disease and stroke.

This funding will be provided over four years, from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Cardiovascular Health Mission, to advance ground-breaking work on heart disease and stroke - the nation’s two biggest killers:

  • The National Stroke Foundation will receive $4 million for research into better diagnosis and treatment of children who suffer stroke, and
  • The National Heart Foundation will receive $4 million from the Government, matched by $4 million from the Foundation itself, for research into four areas of clinical practice to improve identification and management of cardiovascular disease.

The National Stroke Foundation’s research aims to achieve a paradigm shift in acute stroke care for Australian children, greatly improving survival rates.

Each year up to 600 Australian children suffer a stroke. One in 20 die and more than half of the survivors experience long-term impairments. A major reason for this is delays in diagnosis of stroke in children, compared with adults.

The Stroke Foundation will partner with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to design and implement a world-first national Paediatric Acute Code Stroke (PACS) protocol, using innovative decision support tools and advanced imaging technologies.

The protocol will provide guidance to medical professionals on diagnosis of paediatric stroke, to increase the number of children aged from one month to 18 years who are diagnosed within 4.5 hours of their incident. This is the critical time period for reperfusion therapy (which restores the flow of blood to the brain), which is crucial to recovery.

The project will also involve leading researchers from the areas of paediatric and adult stroke, emergency, haematology, neuroimaging, biostatistics, design science and health economics.

The National Heart Foundation’s research will target four key areas:

  • better predicting a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • reducing the disease in cancer patients
  • addressing poorer health outcomes for women with heart disease, and
  • closing gaps in secondary prevention and cardiac rehabilitation.

These were identified as priority areas for research by Australians living with heart disease, consumers, researchers, clinicians and other stakeholders involved in heart health.

By better identifying and managing cardiovascular disease in clinical practice, we will improve lives. We will save lives. Australians affected by heart disease will live longer and they will live better.

The Morrison Government’s $220 million, 10 year Cardiovascular Health Mission will fund research that drives transformative improvements in cardiovascular health and stroke.

Deaths from cardiovascular disease in Australia have fallen by almost 70 per cent over the past three decades, mainly through better detection, prevention and management.

However, the disease still affects around one in five Australians, and in 2016 was the underlying cause in around 28 per cent of all deaths.

The research will involve multidisciplinary partnerships and collaboration, both in Australia and internationally. The funding will also be used to translate the research findings into clinical practice that will make a real difference in people’s lives.

A strong research agenda is key to identifying more effective methods for preventing, treating and managing heart conditions and, ideally, for finding cures for these conditions.

Since 2013, the Coalition Government has invested over $820 million for research into cardiovascular disease through National Health and Medical Research Council grants.

Further information on the MRFF is available on the Department of Health website.

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