The federal government has announced a $185 million medical research package focused on ageing, aged care and dementia.
The 10-year Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission is funded through the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). Its focus will include:
- dementia (diagnosis, treatment and prevention);
- fall prevention and avoidable hospitalisations; and,
- assistive technology to support independence.
The Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute will be the first recipient of funding with $10 million for dementia research.
The funding will go to a team led by director Professor Jürgen Götz who have found that ultrasound can remove Alzheimer’s disease (the most common type of dementia) pathology and restore memory function in animal models.
"This funding will be used to develop this discovery into a promising treatment technology, with clinical trials in late 2019," said health minister Greg Hunt.
"The goal is to produce a portable scanning ultrasound device, capable of being used across the country, including in regional clinic settings."
There are an estimated 420,000 people in Australia living with dementia. There is currently no cure and existing medications only treat symptoms, without halting or reversing the underlying neurodegeneration.
The number of Australians living with dementia is expected to increase to almost 1.1 million by 2056.
"The need for investment in research to develop new treatments and to improve dementia care is evident. We’re committed to ensuring Australians of all ages have access to the support they need to face life’s challenges," said Mr Hunt.