25 Jun 2020

CCS wins $9M of MRFF Neurological Disorders grants

L-R: Prof Terry O'Brien, Dr Mastura Monif,
Prof Tomas Corcoran (UWA/SPHPM) and Professor Paul Myles
Congratulations to Central Clinical School researchers, Professor Terry O'Brien, Dr Mastura Monif and Professor Paul Myles, who jointly with School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine researcher Professor Tomas Corcoran have won approximately $9M of grants under the 2019 MRFF RCRDUN Neurological Disorders Mission 2020. The initiative had a total of $21.8M on offer nationwide as announced by Minister for Health Greg Hunt on 25 June 2020. See detail below.
  • $2,639,490 to Prof Terry O'Brien and colleagues for a randomised clinical trial (RCT) of sodium selenate for progressive supranuclear palsy: “Sodium Selenate as a Disease Modifying Treatment for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (Sodium Selenate for PSP)”. PSP has no known effective treatment or cure. PSP affects brain cells that control walking, balance, mobility, vision, speech, swallowing, thinking and behaviour. It is a devastating neurodegenerative condition that affects people over the age of 40 years old, for which there is currently no disease-modifying treatment.
  • $2,092,824 to Dr Mastura Monif and colleagues for her biomarker study of autoimmune encephalitis: “Autoimmune Encephalitis - a rare and debilitating neurological illness affecting the Australian population. A study of the Australian Autoimmune Encephalitis Consortium.” Discovered just 12 years ago, little is known of the disease which patients describe as feeling like your “brain is on fire”, causing its victims’ immune systems to inexplicably attack healthy brain cells, leading to inflammation. Steroids can stop the damage but the longer it takes to diagnose the more damage there is. And, because it mimics many other conditions, including dementia, delirium or psychiatric illnesses like psychosis and schizophrenia, it almost always takes too long to diagnose. Accurate diagnosis will be helped by disease biomarkers.
  • $4,334,375 to the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Clinical Trials Network (ANZCA CTN) which is headed by CIB Professor Paul Myles and located within the Central Clinical School for: “The Long-term Outcomes of Lidocaine Infusions for persistent PostOperative Pain in patients undergoing breast surgery (LOLIPOP).” CIA Prof Tomas Corcoran is based at UWA, and is an Adjunct Clinical Professor with Monash University. Persistent pain after surgery is a neurological problem, affecting up to half of patients who have undergone breast cancer surgery. It might be prevented or reduced by use of one particular anaesthetic, lidocaine.
Professor O’Brien said that the awarding of almost $9 million to Monash University’s Central Clinical School “reflects on the quality of neuroscience research that is being done on the Alfred Research Alliance Campus.”

CCS Neuroscience researchers have also had recent MRFF grant successes under other schemes.

Prof Natasha Lannin will lead the implementation/translation program for a $3.48M grant submitted through University of Melbourne and Austin Health, “A multi-centre randomised controlled trial of polysomnographic titration of non-invasive ventilation in motor neurone disease.” See CCS blog story and 24 June MRFF RCRDUN Greg Hunt announcement, "$35.9 million boost for rare cancers, rare diseases and unmet medical needs".

Prof Patrick Kwan, Dr Ben Rollo and collaborators were awarded $556,460.60 through the MRFF Stem Cell Therapies Mission 2020, for their project, “Discovering new drugs for epilepsy using personalised medicine.” See story and the 20 June MRFF Stem Cell Therapies Mission announcement, "Treatment for incurable diseases receives $5.9 million research injection".

See Monash University's Neuroscience capability statement.

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