AUSTRALIAN Parkinson’s researchers could be one step closer to finding a cure for the debilitating disease.
Around 100,000 Australians live with Parkinson’s disease and 14,000 will be diagnosed every year.
The Government has pledged $30 million in funding to help researchers at the Australian Parkinson’s Mission search for effective treatments and the elusive cure for Parkinson’s disease.
The Australian Parkinson's Mission is a collaboration of Parkinson's Australia, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Garvan Research Foundation, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (UK), Shake It Up Australia Foundation and the Michael J Fox Foundation.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the funding boost for the mission, which combines clinical trials and genomics research, on Wednesday.
The mission will conduct clinical trials of drugs that have shown promise in slowing or stopping the progression of Parkinson’s.
Identifying treatments that slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s is a big step towards our ultimate aim of funding a cure for, and preventing, Parkinson’s
Mr Hunt said the ground-breaking work “will give real hope to the Parkinson's community”.
“Although the subject of significant research since the 1960s, the cause of Parkinson’s is largely unknown and current treatments only mask the symptoms,” he said.
“No drugs exist to slow or stop the disease progressing – and there is no cure. There is an urgent need to identify drugs that will slow or halt the disease.
“Many of us have watched Parkinson’s Disease wreak its havoc on our loved ones. We know first-hand how critical the search for a breakthrough cure or treatment is and that’s why research is so important.”
Parkinson’s Australia chief executive Steve Sant said the funding “will provide an opportunity to undertake world-leading research into treatments that have the potential to arrest Parkinson’s.”
“This research combines genomic sequencing with the trialling of a number of drugs that have shown some potential to slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s and can help understand the underlying causes of Parkinson’s,” he said.
it is hoped identification of biomarkers (tests) will help scientists measure effective treatments and monitor the progression of Parkinson's and lead to early diagnosis and early intervention.
“Identifying treatments that slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s is a big step towards our ultimate aim of funding a cure for, and preventing, Parkinson’s.”
CEO of Shake It Up Australia, Clyde Campbell, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2009, said: “This five year program includes multiple clinical trials of potentially disease modifying drugs and treatments across Australia and will include many hundreds of patients.
“It’s going to have a substantial impact on identifying effective treatments and fast tracking them to people with the disease.”
Parkinson's is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative condition that has no cure.
This year it is estimated that 1 in every 300 people will be living with Parkinson's. Parkinson’s is more prevalent than many cancers including breast cancer, lung cancer and leukaemia.