Thursday, April 25, 2024

Human trials begin for Queensland dementia research

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) research into dementia treatment using ultrasound has launched its first human safety trial.

Innovation Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe said the Government’s Advance Queensland initiative had invested $5 million in the QBI to develop and trial a prototype ultrasound device.

“This pioneering work is a step closer to a global breakthrough in the treatment of dementia, developed in Queensland and supported by Advance Queensland,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The year-long human safety trial in Brisbane is testing if the QBI prototype device can replicate lab results and improve the lives of people with Alzheimer’s.

“Currently there isn’t an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and that’s what makes this first safety trial involving 12 Queenslanders so important.”

Researchers at QBI have discovered ultrasound can clear protein markers for Alzheimer’s disease in the brains of mice and restore memory and cognitive ability.

“It’s early days, but if QBI’s ultrasound treatment is proven to be safe and effective it could be a ‘made in Queensland’ game changer for many millions living with dementia globally,” the Minister said.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Almost one in 10 Australians over 65 or 94,000 Queenslanders are living with dementia, which over next 40 years is predicted to have a $1 trillion impact on the national economy.

UQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry said the safety and tolerability trial was a significant step forward for research that had been ongoing for about a decade.

“The first participant in the trial has completed their course of four fortnightly treatments to an area of the brain that is affected early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease,” Professor Terry said.

“Each participant will have an MRI scan of the brain, an EEG and cognitive test both before and after their treatment course to monitor the outcome.

“Reaching this hugely important juncture has only been possible with tremendous support from the government and community.”

Mr Hinchliffe said the Queensland Brain Institute’s ground breaking dementia research confirmed Queensland’s standing as a world-leading hub for biomedical innovation.

“This is a very exciting time to be in Queensland,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“QBI is one of a growing number of Queensland innovators turning great ideas and research into good Queensland jobs for the future economy.

“The Advance Queensland Innovation for a Future Economy 2022 -2032 roadmap is Queensland’s time to shine on the world stage.”   

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