The Palaszczuk Government is backing innovative biomedical research to reduce the impacts of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, announcing the recipients of this year’s Queensland-Chinese Academy of Science (Q-CAS) Collaborative Science Fund.
Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch said the two project teams, made up of University of Queensland and Chinese partners, will each receive the maximum $250,000 under the 2018 round of funding.
“One recipient team, the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and the Chinese Institute of Process Engineering – Chinese Academy of Science, will develop multifunctional nanomedicines that treat Alzheimer’s disease,” Ministers Enoch said.
“Alzheimer’s has a big impact on our aging community, affecting 10-30 per cent of people over the age of 65, and this project could dramatically improve the quality of life for those patients.”
The project will involve clinical trials and further research, in the hope of reducing Alzheimer’s symptoms and providing better understanding of the disease progression.
Queensland Project Leader Gordon Xu said the nanomedicines aimed to slip past the brain’s defences and deliver four carefully-selected therapeutics to the brain to treat Alzheimer’s.
“This project is unique in combining multiple strategies – that individually succeeded in cells but failed in patients – into one comprehensive formulation for slowing Alzheimer’s progression,” Mr Xu said.
“These nanomedicines will reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease cost-effectively, allowing patients to remain productive, while reducing economic burdens to the health systems in both Australia and China.”
The other project recipient partners are the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Biosciences and the University of Science and Technology of China, who are using spider venom as the source of molecules developed to treat pain and stroke-induced brain injury.
“Each spider's venom is made up of hundreds to thousands of peptides, and the project team has searched through these venoms to find individual peptides that have the desired therapeutic properties,” Ms Enoch said.
“Stroke is the biggest killer in China, and the third leading cause of death in Australia, while chronic pain affects one in six people in both countries, with a higher economic burden than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined.
“If we can unlock new ways to combat these potentially deadly issues, it will lead to positive health and economic benefits on a global scale,” Ms Enoch said.
Queensland project team leader Professor Glenn King said their project may result in the first drug that protects the brain after stroke, as well as new non-addictive analgesics for treating chronic pain.
“The therapeutics resulting from this project will greatly decrease healthcare costs, increase participation in the workforce, and create jobs in the Queensland biotech industry,” Professor King said.
The Q-CAS Fund is a joint initiative delivered through Advance Queensland and CAS, providing separate grants up to $125,000 ($250,000 total) over two years to support Queensland and Chinese researchers undertaking highly innovative research and development projects.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch