Federal funding towards major medical objectives

8 Jul 2021

More than $15 million of the Australian Government’s latest Medical Research Future Fund spending has been allocated towards University of Queensland projects.

The Faculty of Medicine was at the forefront of UQ’s success, which saw nine projects secure funding from the $180 million worth of grants announced on June 30 by Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt.

“These grants are part of the government’s overarching $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, which is a long-term, sustainable investment in Australian health and medical research,” Mr Hunt said.

“The fund will help to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to the sustainability of the health system.

“Health outcomes will be improved for Australians with cancer, dementia, brain injuries, heart problems, neurofibromatosis and many other conditions.”

The nine health projects funded from UQ were the following:

  • Lung cancer screening for early detection ($2.8m)
  • Implementing a Multivariate Index Assay for the Earlier Detection of Ovarian Cancer ($2.7m)
  • Improving genomic testing rates for inoperable lung cancer patients ($2.5m)            
  • Improving surveillance infrastructure for Indigenous primary health care ($2m)
  • Technology Assisted and Remotely Delivered Anxiety Psychotherapy Intervention for People living with Dementia and Their Care Partners (Tech-CBT) ($1.6m)
  • Development of drugs to prevent ischemic injuries of the heart and brain ($1,499,560)
  • Transforming the paradigm of epilepsy care with precision medicine ($1m)
  • Alignment, Harmonisation, and Results: translating Core Outcome Measures to Improve Care (COM-IC) for People Living with Dementia into Australian practice ($999,000)     
  • Measuring, Monitoring, and Motivating Adherence to Self-Managed Aphasia Treatment ($389,000)

Among the recipients was Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka (pictured) from The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. Her team received $1.6m for a technologically advanced solution to managing anxiety in people with dementia.

“Anxiety alone is hugely impactful – but when coupled with dementia, the cognitive decline people experience is accelerated, creating a significant health and economic burden,” Dr Dissanayaka said.

“Largely, it is an unmet medical issue for the nearly 500,000 people living with dementia in Australia and for their care partners and providers.

“Anxiety can be mental, physical, cognitive or emotional and may manifest itself as irritability, difficulty concentrating, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, aggression and more.

“Our research will evaluate whether a new technology-assisted 6-week psychotherapy intervention for dementia is effective, scalable and cost-effective in improving quality of life and decreasing adverse health outcomes.”