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01 Feb 2019

The Federal Government is providing $30 million over five years to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to trial promising drugs to reduce the progression of Parkinson’s disease and to allow people to live in their homes longer.  It will support the Institute’s Australian Parkinson’s Mission.

Parkinson’s disease is recognised as the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in Australia. More than 100,000 Australians endure its progressive and debilitating symptoms – and without a medical breakthrough, this number is expected to double in 15 years.

Up to 1,000 Australians from Victoria, NSW and Queensland living with Parkinson’s will test the effectiveness of four repurposed drugs, revolutionising our understanding of Parkinson’s, identifying new treatment targets and discovering new drugs.

The $30 million funding comes from the Medical Research Future Fund, which is giving support to the best and brightest minds from our research community.

The MRFF is an endowment fund, which will mature at $20 billion, providing a sustainable source of funding for vital medical research.

A further $6.8 million over four years will be provided to Primary Health Networks to improve access to specialised nursing care in the community for people living with movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.

Specialist nurses would fill a range of roles, including providing clinical care to patients, coordinating timely access to community based care to manage acute and chronic health problems and delivery of education and information 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said although it has been the subject of significant research since the 1960s, the cause of Parkinson’s is largely unknown and current treatments only mask the symptoms.

“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,” Mr Hunt said.

“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.

“A successful Australian Parkinson’s Mission will mean that Australian patients and their families will be the first to benefit from the future of precision medicine for Parkinson’s.

“The mission will be rolled out nationally through leading capital city centres and extended into regional Australia, where possible, via a hub and spoke model.”

The Australian Parkinson’s Mission is an international research collaboration between the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Shake it Up Australia Foundation, the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Michael J Fox Foundation and Parkinson’s Australia.


Published: 01 Feb 2019