New dementia network to fast-track cure

Tuesday, 03 July, 2018

New dementia network to fast-track cure

With 1700 Australians a week joining the ranks of people living with dementia, the federal government has announced a new project that is designed to fast-track cures and support dementia prevention and management.

The Australian Dementia Network (ADNet) was recently announced by Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt AM, and will include memory centres and a registry of clinical trial volunteers to fast-track research.

Minister Wyatt said $18 million will be invested in the Australian-first project, bolstered by a further $20 million in commitments from universities, philanthropists, industry, research centres and state governments.

“This is the accelerator we need to win the race against dementia,” he said.

“Dementia is already the biggest killer of Australian women and the second most common cause of death among the overall population, claiming more than 13,000 lives each year.”

ADNeT will:

  • Establish a national network of memory clinics to speed assessment of cognitive disorders and improve specialist access for all Australians, through advanced imaging, genetics and lifestyle data
  • Register and prepare volunteers for participation in clinical trials and other research programs, by providing them with state-of-the-art diagnoses and tracking their disease trajectory
  • Collate and compare data to chart dementia causes, progression, risks and potential new treatments, while supporting research participants and benchmarking clinical care
  • Ensure Australian and international data can be shared, providing unprecedented research access to global data and collaboration, to inform prevention, treatment and care.

ADNet will drive research and deliver improvements through five core teams — Registry, Clinics, Trials, Technology and Business — with close links to leading international programs in Europe and the USA.

Professor Christopher Rowe of Austin Health will lead ADNet as Chief Investigator.

ADNeT is the largest single project funded to date through the government’s $200 million, five-year Boosting Dementia Research Initiative launched in 2014 by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

A recent progress report on the first three years of the initiative highlighted Australia’s global leadership in several spheres of dementia science.

The 2018 federal Budget funding includes a further $5.3 million to conduct a dementia innovation trial.

Since 2015, NHMRC’s National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR) has been targeting, coordinating and translating the strategic expansion of dementia research in Australia.

NNIDR is committed to achieving the World Dementia Council’s international target — a five-year delay in the onset of dementia by 2025.

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