$10 million Asia-Pacific Centre set to make Brisbane a world leader in brain research

18 Mar 2012

A new multi-million dollar Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation (APCN) in Brisbane is poised to become a world leader in research to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disease.

The Centre is a joint initiative of The University of Queensland and St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital, with funding commitments of approximately $10 million over five years.

The Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation will integrate research, education and clinical care, and aims to become the data hub for our region, linking to an international research and clinical database on neuromodulation technology and procedures.

The Centre builds on two decades of ground-breaking clinical research in the application of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), a neuromodulation procedure to treat Parkinson's disease, Dystonia , Essential Tremor, Post-stroke disorders, Tourette's syndrome, Intractable Pain, and Epilepsy.

Central to the Centre's establishment are world leaders in Deep Brain Stimulation, neurologist and Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at The University of Queensland, Professor Peter Silburn, and neurosurgeon Dr Terry Coyne, both of whom are based at St Andrew's, a UnitingCare Health hospital.

Over two decades, and between them, Professor Silburn and Dr Coyne have performed more than 800 Deep Brain Stimulation procedures, the most number by any team in Australia.

Professor Silburn said one of the Centre's goals was to convert knowledge and research into improved treatments for patients suffering from debilitating neurological diseases and conditions.

"It's about taking what we've learned so far about Deep Brain Stimulation, recording what is happening in people's brains to learn more about how the brain functions and what parts are responsible for these problems,"Professor Silburn said.

"We're working with partners like the Queensland Brain Institute to analyse data, so we can map individual brain cell activity and produce better outcomes for patients."

UnitingCare Health Executive Director, Mr Richard Royle, said St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital was proud to be collaborating with The University of Queensland on the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation.

"St Andrew's has a proud tradition of leadership in healthcare and a focus on research and advancing technology," Mr Royle said.

"The establishment of this Centre is an extension to our commitment to research, education and compassionate outcomes in clinical care."

The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, said the Centre was built around the premise that improved patient outcomes rely on the nexus between research, innovation and partnerships.

"One group whose lives will be impacted by this centre are the 64,000 Australians who suffer from Parkinson's disease, a number that's set to rise by 80 per cent over the next 20 years," Professor Terry said. 

"Last year alone, the disease cost Australia $8.3 billion dollars. But there is more than just the economic cost. There is the untold emotional toll on patients, 19 per cent of whom are of working age, and their families. That's why this Centre is so important." 

The APCN's research hub will be located within The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, and its administrative hub will be at St Andrew's War Memorial Hospital. 

For media inquiries please contact: 
Colleen Clur, Niche Consultants, M 0418 253 340, W 3368 1230 or 
Kirsten Rogan, UQ Faculty of Health Sciences, M 0412 307 594, W 3346 5308