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08 Mar 2019

Heart disease and stroke have captured the Government’s attention, with a research project being launched in a bid to tackle the nation’s two biggest killers.

Describing it as an “unprecedented” amount, the Government has committed $220 million for a 10-year effort called Mission for Cardiovascular Health.

The funding, awarded under the Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), will support Australian researchers to make game-changing discoveries, develop a global biotech industry and enable the implementation of changes in healthcare.

Cardiovascular disease is the underlying cause of 43,500 deaths in Australia.

One Australian dies of cardiovascular disease every 12 minutes, with one Australian experiencing a heart attack or stroke every five minutes.

In 2017 alone, more than 100,000 Australians experienced a heart attack or stroke and cardiovascular disease was the underlying cause of 43,500 deaths in Australia.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said those figures are telling, but they don’t convey the tragedy of heart disease and strokes for individuals, their families and loved ones.

“The Mission for Cardiovascular Health aims to improve health outcomes through prevention strategies, earlier detection and improved outcomes for patients suffering a heart attack or stroke,” he said.

“It will aim to reduce hospitalisations, develop clinical trials and new drug therapies, use the unique DNA of a patient to develop new therapies and also look into why people who don’t lead an unhealthy lifestyle or have a genetic cause suffer heart attacks.”

The Mission will be overseen by an appointed expert advisory panel chaired by Professor Gemma Figtree and will have a broad scope.

Open and contestable grant opportunities will stimulate new and emerging research to address heart disease and stroke.

This Mission includes the recently announced $20 million in funding to help defeat congenital heart disease by better understanding genetic causes and treatment options through the HeartKids Project.

The Government established the HeartKids Project to tackle childhood heart disease, which affects more than 65,000 Australians. In Australia, of the approximately 300,000 births each year, 2,400 to 3,000 babies are born with a form of congenital heart disease.

Published: 08 Mar 2019