Communications & Media

Dementia research set to benefit from $18 million funding boost

The University of Tasmania Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre will benefit from $18 million in Federal funding announced this week.

The funding will establish the Australian Dementia Network (ADNeT) –an Australia-wide consortium of researchers who have come together to boost dementia research capacity in the country.

The Wicking Centre is part of ADNet whose initiatives include: the establishment of a national, clinical quality dementia registry (CQR); improved diagnosis of dementia via a national network of memory clinics; and enhanced opportunities for people living with, or at risk of dementia to participate in clinical trials.

Wicking Centre Director Professor James Vickers said the funding and the establishment of the network would bring many benefits to research and to people living with dementia.

“The registry will be utilised to track, benchmark and report on the quality of clinical care of people with dementia, and to also provide an opportunity to more accurately determine the incidence and prevalence of dementia,” he said.

In Tasmania the Wicking Centre will be working with local practitioners, to develop clinics that will support a diagnosis of dementia and recruit individuals for engagement in clinical trials.

“This will be supplemented by new imaging techniques for detecting dementia in its earliest stages, as well as studies on blood-based biomarkers of neurodegeneration,” Professor Vickers said.

“It is hoped that we can establish this capacity to support a diagnosis of dementia in all regions of Tasmania.”

The Wicking Centre will also have a role in promoting the dementia registry and clinical trials through its network of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) participants, degree graduates and social media followers.

Professor Vickers said the formal network provided by the funding would result in a wealth of research and care benefits.

“A major benefit of this funding is that it provides a formal link between all of the major centres of dementia research in the country, so there should be a range of other benefits for dementia research that arise from these groups working together,” he said.

Funding includes $18 million from the NHMRC and co-funding from the Yugilbar Foundation ($2.5 million) and JO and JR Wicking Trust ($2.5 million).

Published on: 04 Jul 2018 12:04pm