Australian Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt has announced he will be funding an ultrasound technique that could delay the effects of dementia. The funding, worth $10 million, will add up to the philanthropic donations the University of Queensland – which has been developing the treatment – has received, rounding up the number to $30 million.
This money will be used to kickstart the human trials of the treatment, which initially used ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier and help the antibodies that battle dementia reach the target within the brain. During studies on mice, the scientists realized that the ultrasound waves cleared toxic amyolic protein plaques from the brain without them having to administer any other sort of therapeutic drugs.
The human trials will involve a small number of patients that will explore if the technique is safe to use against the condition.
“The technology temporarily opens the blood-brain-barrier to remove toxic plaques from the brain and has successfully reversed Alzheimer’s symptoms and restored memory function in animal models,” University of Queensland QBI Director Professor Pankaj Sah stated “The human safety trials late next year are the next step, representing an investment in research that is already underway.”
The funding will support a team of 90 researchers from QBI’s Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research over the course of five years.