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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    $1.5 million funding to advance early detection of cerebral palsy in babies

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    $1.5 million funding to advance early detection of cerebral palsy in babies

    A major University of Queensland research project that aims to detect cerebral palsy in infants has received major funding from the Palaszczuk Government.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch announced today that the project led by Professor Roslyn Boyd from the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre at the University of Queensland had been awarded almost $1.5 million as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $15 million Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program.

    “Professor Boyd and her team will look to improve the early detection of cerebral palsy in newborn babies at risk of cerebral palsy,” Ms Enoch said.

    “About 600 to 700 babies are born with cerebral palsy in Australia every year. Pre-term babies are at a higher risk of developing the condition.”

    Ms Enoch said Professor Boyd and her team would develop new ‘toolboxes’ of biological and clinical markers to detect the condition earlier.

    “If you can detect cerebral palsy early, then you can fast-track early intervention programs.”

    Children with cerebral palsy usually do not receive their diagnosis until well into the second year of life, often resulting in a late referral to intervention.

    “The first 2 years of life are a period of rapid neural change so early detection is critical if we are to improve the health and well-being of these children as they grow up,” Ms Enoch said.

    The Minister said Professor Boyd, one of Australia’s foremost authorities on cerebral palsy, was already making great strides with older children in managing the condition.

    “Professor Boyd definitely has the runs on the board when it comes to tackling cerebral palsy, so we’re very hopeful that she and her team will be successful in translating their innovations into clinical products and technologies, such as smartphone applications and telemedicine, not only helping children and their families, but making Queensland a leader in cerebral palsy rehabilitation.”

    Children’s Health Queensland and the Merchant Charitable Foundation are the project’s industry partners.

    Health Minister Cameron Dick said the Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships funding was an important step in solving health issues not just in Queensland, but globally.

    “Bringing research institutions and industry together is critical in delivering tangible outcomes for Queenslanders,” Mr Dick said.

    “This approach is proven to deliver results and I look forward to seeing the outcomes from these collaborations.”

    Ms Enoch said the University of Queensland research project was one of 15 projects to be funded this year as part of this the Government’s Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program.

    The Innovation Partnerships program, part of the $405 million Advance Queensland initiative, aims to support collaborative research and development projects involving both research organisations and industry to address industry and society issues in priority areas such as agriculture, engineering, climate change, clean energy, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

    Ms Enoch said the program sets out to address one of the big issues that consistently hampers the successful commercialisation of research in Australia, getting industry and the research sector to combine forces to develop solutions to industry and society needs.

    “We’re investing $9.65 million in these 15 projects, with the successful recipients and their project partners contributing a further $15 million,” Ms Enoch said.

    “The Innovation Partnerships program will boost productivity growth and the competitiveness of existing industries, accelerate the development of emerging industries, and increase the speed and scale of translation of our science and research into new products, services and business models that can help drive economic and jobs growth in Queensland.”

    • Other health-related projects to be awarded Advance Queensland Innovation Partnership funding are:
      A research project led by Associate Professor Lachlan Coin from the Institute of Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland will receive almost $450,000 to develop new pathology tests that will help identify a bacterial infection strain type and antibiotic resistance in less than six hours. This will improve the current test process by 24 hours, enabling doctors to give appropriate treatment quicker and more effectively. Partners include the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service;
    • A research project led by Professor Lindsay Brown from the University of Southern Queensland will receive almost $260,000 to look at the potential of creating new health products from algae. The project team recently demonstrated the potential therapeutic benefits of using algae in diets to deliver nutrients and minerals. Their research shows that algae are functional foods, that is, foods that could reverse or prevent disease and deliver health benefits. The research team plans to test whether a range of products can be developed from different algae to decrease or prevent obesity and improve muscle tone in the elderly. The industry partner is algae technology company MBD Energy Ltd; and
    • A research project led by Professor Dietmar Hutmacher from QUT will receive $705,000. Professor Hutmacher are partnering with the Translational Research Centre, Biofabrication Design Solutions Pty Ltd, 3D industries Pty Ltd and 3D Space Labs Pty Ltd to develop world-first technology 3D technology around breast scaffolds for reconstructive surgery. The project could deliver significant benefits for women who have had breast cancer. Professor Hutmacher and his team will look to improve 3D bioprinting technology. Their works holds up huge promise in making Queensland a leader in 3D bioprinting.

    Media contact: Daniel Lato 0438 830 201