Generosity propels clinical trial for dementia

In 2019, Brisbane will become the base for the safety testing of a revolutionary ultrasound technique that could delay the effects of dementia.

The trial led by researchers from The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) has been propelled forward to this vital step thanks to the generosity of government and philanthropic sources.

John Quinn (pictured, below) a former school principal who is living with younger-onset dementia, said the treatment provides new hope to more than half-a-million Australians and their families who are affected by the disease.

“When I was diagnosed with dementia I felt like my whole personhood had been violated… I felt alone,” Mr Quinn said.

“I cannot put into words what this treatment would mean to the hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia.

“It would offer so much hope for them, for the future.

“If the researchers at UQ can progress this ultrasound treatment forward to the stage that it can be rolled out into the community it would be life-changing.”

Donors and government partners have come together to support this important work, and the potential time-line towards trials has been accelerated thanks to their support.

The research received an additional boost when $25,000 from the Area of Greatest Need fund contributed to the purchase of an important piece of equipment to carry out the next stages of work.

The new piece of Beckman Coulter equipment (pictured right) will help test the quality of the samples used in the ultrasounds research, and plays an important part in ensuring accuracy and integrity in the research process is maintained.

QBI Director Professor Pankaj Sah said government and philanthropic funding would help researchers accelerate the development of the technology, and progress research to build understanding of the underlying mechanisms of dementia.

“The ultrasound technology temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier to remove toxic plaques from the brain and has successfully reversed Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and restored memory function in animal models,” Professor Sah said.

“The human safety trial planned to commence late this year is the next step to progress our research toward the clinic.

“Funding is essential if we are to continue to move closer to producing a non-invasive treatment for dementia, which affects more than 400,000 people nationwide."

It is only with the support of donors like you that this research is progressing with such speed, and while there is still some way to go, your help has made a real difference.