The Albanese Government is investing $50 million in innovative research teams to address a range of health problems like prostate cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and chronic pain.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will provide $5 million in funding to 10 outstanding teams of researchers, from a range of disciplines, to work together to answer major questions that cannot be answered by a single researcher.
Professor Helen Christensen and team from the University of New South Wales will receive $5 million to use artificial intelligence to improve therapy for people suffering from psychological distress.
Women aged 16–34 are more likely to experience psychological distress, with nearly 1 in 6 Australians affected.
Professor Christensen’s research will harness advances in artificial intelligence, digital mental health, and health economic modelling to help determine which psychological therapy will be most effective, for which patients.
Professor Gail Risbridger and a team from Monash University will receive $5 million to develop CAR T cell therapy for prostate cancer.
CAR T cell therapy is an immunotherapy that involves taking the immune cells out of a patient’s body and giving those cells the genetic information they need to identify and attack cancer cells in the body.
CAR T cell therapy has successfully treated some forms of blood cancer, even at very advanced stages and when other treatments have failed, but the therapy has yet to be effective in treating solid cancers like prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with 1 in 6 men at risk of diagnosis by the age of 85.
Professor Risbridger’s approach will use new integrated methods of generating CAR T cells, a range of models to test them, and state-of-the-art imaging tools to bring this therapy to the clinic.
The NHMRC’s Synergy Grant scheme fosters collaboration between diverse researchers to ensure a range of skills and perspectives are brought to the research problem.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“The most complex problems in health, in a clinic or a laboratory, are best solved by teams from a range of disciplines working together.”
“We are living through a supercharged period of discovery and Australia’s researchers are world leading. These ten projects are proof of that.”
“The Albanese Government is proud to fund these innovative projects that aim to find solutions to health problems like prostate cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and chronic pain.”
Quotes attributable to NHMRC CEO Professor Steve Wesselingh:
“The Synergy Grant scheme is specifically designed to support diverse teams, which are essential to tackling complex research questions and improving human health.”
“These grants offer opportunities to foster collaboration between diverse researchers to ensure a range of skills and perspectives are brought to the research problem.”