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Major funding boost for research into ageing brains.

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The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Ageing


6 July 2005 JB096/05

Major funding boost for research into ageing brains

Research into understanding how and why the brain degenerates in older people has received an $11.9 million funding boost from the Australian Government.

The Federal Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, today welcomed the announcement of funding for two University of Melbourne projects that will focus on the prevention and treatment of diseases of ageing.

“Professor John Hamilton and his team at the University of Melbourne will be studying the development of better drugs to control unwanted inflammatory reactions in many diseases, including arthritis,” Ms Bishop said.

“Professor Colin Masters and his team at the University of Melbourne will study the degeneration of the brain in certain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

“It is estimated that 1,000 people per week will be diagnosed with dementia this year. That is why the Australian Government has made dementia a National Research Priority, and invested more than $320 million in a package of initiatives to improve research, treatment, support and education for people with dementia, their families and the people who care for them.

“Research, such as that being undertaken by Professors Hamilton, Masters and their teams, complement the Australian Government’s efforts to make inroads in the area of ageing and the treatment of dementia,” Ms Bishop said.

In 2004 the Australian Government, through the National Health and Medical Research Council, allocated almost $110 million, or 32 per cent of the Council’s total expenditure, on research in the priority area of Healthy Ageing.

The Minister recently announced the Australian Government would provide a further $10 million through the Ageing Well, Ageing Productively research program. Ageing Well, Ageing Productively is a National Research Priority of the Australian Government.

Media contact: Rachael Thompson 0417 265 289 Further information about the funding is attached.

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Program Grant

Title: Neurodegeneration in the ageing brain: how the pathways leading to aggregated protein cause disease

Administering Institution University of Melbourne Funding $11,601,890

Chief Investigators CIA Prof Colin Masters CIB Dr Kevin Barnham CIC Assoc Prof Ashley Bush CID Dr Robert Cappai CIE Dr Robert Cherny CIF Dr Steven Collins CIG Dr Andrew Hill CIH Dr Anthony White

Description A science research program by Professor Colin Masters and colleagues at the University of Melbourne aims to understand how and why the brain degenerates in certain conditions. The particular conditions being studied are Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

In both these conditions, proteins which should not normally be there build up, and the connections between nerve cells in the brain break down.

This research aims to understand what is happening inside the cells in the brain to make these things happen. Only with this understanding will doctors be able to test for and treat these diseases properly.

Development Grant

Title: A Novel Anti-inflammatory Therapeutic.

Professor John Hamilton University of Melbourne $334,000

Many diseases, such as arthritis, have unwanted inflammatory reactions. Better drugs are needed to control inflammation.

This research aims to generate a powerful antibody to a significant pro-inflammatory cytokine; this antibody will be especially designed so that it will not be rejected by patients.

Because of its properties it is estimated that this will cost the community less than similar therapeutics and because inflammatory diseases are common, many patients will benefit from this therapeutic.

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