Major research funding to beat Alzheimer's disease announced

A $6.4 million project to learn more about the biological causes dementia will get researchers closer to finding better treatments and possibly a cure for the debilitating disease.

This article originally appeared on in the Newsroom on 7 August. View the original here.

A $6.4 million project to learn more about the biological causes dementia will get researchers closer to finding better treatments and possibly a cure for the debilitating disease.

Federal Health Minister, The Honorable Sussan Ley, announced the research funding today.

The collaboration involves researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Monash University, University of Western Ontario in Canada and the University of California.

The research will be led by Doctor Amy Brodtmann at the Florey and includes Doctor Jess Nithianantharajah and Professor Louise Burrell, from the University of Melbourne.

It is part of a larger international research effort, which involves the establishment of a $50 million National Institute for Dementia Research.

The project is called Vascular mechanisms of neurodegeneration: drivers and determinants of dementia. Medical researchers will work to understand how impaired blood vessels can cause dementia.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Melbourne, Prof Jim McCluskey said this understanding is crucial to making advances in treatments.

"By understanding the mechanisms that cause dementia, this research will help to identify ways to prevent and treat the disease," Prof McCluskey said.

"The University of Melbourne and our partners have long been at the cutting edge of medical research in neuroscience and this grant acknowledges the quality of our research. 

"We are very pleased the Federal Government has made this commitment to deciphering a disease that will affect 900,000 Australians by 2050.

"There is no doubt that dementia is one of the biggest public health problems we face as our population ages and yet, there is no effective treatment. Our hope is that this work will bring us closer to easing the burden the health system, dementia sufferers and their loved ones."