Date published: 
25 June 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Morrison Government is investing $21.8 million in vital research that could mean major breakthroughs in treating a range of neurological disorders, including early Alzheimer’s disease, autism and encephalitis.

This research could change lives. It could save lives.

Neurological disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent in Australia. They account for a third of all diseases, with the number of people affected increasing by almost 20 per cent between 2003 and 2015.

Health and medical research is the single best way to advance health care – and our Government is profoundly committed to backing our best and brightest health and medical researchers in finding new treatments for patients both in Australia and internationally.

A total of 10 research projects, to be conducted by researchers around the nation, will be funded. They include new treatments for the rare Parkinson’s Disease-like supranuclear palsy, reducing fatigue in patients after a stroke, and reducing persistent pain after breast surgery.

The funding is through the Morrison Government’s landmark Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

In one key project, more than $1.4 million will be invested in an Australian trial by University of Melbourne researchers.

The trial focuses on an implantable brain computer interface, its application - a hands-free controller for personal computers and devices, helping to restore lost function to patients with severe paralysis, due to spinal cord injury, stroke, motor neuron disease and muscular dystrophy.

These research projects mean new hope for Australians suffering from debilitating neurological disorders.

They are supported through our Government’s Clinical Trials Activity initiative, an unprecedented 10-year, $614 million investment to help Australian researchers and patients test new treatments through national and international clinical trials.

The initiative aims to increase clinical trial activity in Australia, give Australian patients more access to clinical trials, show which treatments and medicines work best, and enable researchers to collaborate internationally and bring international trials to Australian patients.

These trials are vital to evaluating the effectiveness and safety of medicines, devices, services and interventions to help prevent, detect or treat illness and disease.

Neurological disorders are one of the priority areas for research funding under the initiative.  Others are reproductive cancers, childhood brain cancer, and rare cancers, rare diseases and areas of unmet medical need.

Further information on the MRFF is available at www.health.gov.au/mrff.

Administering Institution

Project Title

Funding

University of Newcastle

Reducing debilitating fatigue after stroke to improve Quality of Life.

$1,006,075

University of Melbourne

Endovascular Brain Computer Interface for Independent Communication.

$1,481,180

Deakin University

Does repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), compared to sham rTMS, improve social communication in adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

$1,903,208

Curtin University

A randomised control trial in subjects with early Alzheimer's disease in exploring if probucol supports cognitive function through improved cerebrovascular function.

$1,720,000

University of Adelaide

Iodine supplementation in pregnancy to improve early childhood neurodevelopment: how much is enough?

$3,235,960

Monash University

Autoimmune Encephalitis - a rare and debilitating neurological illness affecting the Australian population. A study of the Australian Autoimmune Encephalitis Consortium.

$2,092,824

Monash University

Sodium Selenate as a Disease Modifying Treatment for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (Sodium Selenate for PSP).

$2,639,490

University of Sydney

Evaluation of a New Brief Intervention for Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders.

$837,447

Monash University

The Long-term Outcomes of Lidocaine Infusions for persistent PostOperative Pain in patients undergoing breast surgery (LOLIPOP) Trial.

$4,334,375

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Study of Neck Injury Imaging in Children (SONIC): Improving the Diagnosis of Spinal Cord, Bone and Ligament Injuries Compared With Current Practice

$2,528,026

Ministers: