QUT research into the use of plants to combat golden staph infections, heal wounds and treat diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's has been given a $1M funding boost from an Australian biotech company and the Commonwealth government.
Dr Trudi Collet from the Indigenous Medicines Group in QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation welcomed a commercial research agreement and two Commonwealth Research Connection grants with Health Focus Products Australia Pty Ltd (HFPA). These agreements will see $1,035,614 in funding provided over three years to support three areas of research.
"Australia's biodiversity is unique and its application for the treatment of global infections and diseases has incredible potential," Dr Collet said.
"Project one utilises an Australian plant to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as golden staph), a common infection often acquired in hospital, which not only delays wound healing but is on the rise worldwide.
"Our second project will explore the use of three different Australian plants for the treatment of chronic wounds. Globally, more than seven million people suffer from a chronic wound, while in Australia, 433,000 people are diagnosed each year. The associated treatment costs are estimated to be in excess of $2.6 billion AUD.
"The third project under the agreement concerns the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. This is a fantastic journey QUT is set to undertake with HFPA and I believe the outcomes will have international significance."
Dr Mark Baldock, HFPA Chairman and Founder, said the funding was a commitment that recognised the value of the research even at its earliest stages.
"Our interest is in improving the plight of older Australians on a medical and social level. Chronic wounds and institutionalised diseases are hugely debilitating for many thousands of elderly people who often suffer without treatment or recognition of their condition," Dr Baldock said.
"With our aging population we are going to see an increase in health problems like dementia and chronic wounds while the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections is another concern.
"I was very excited to hear of this work by Dr Collet. We have a common goal and I hope that in the future we can work more extensively with QUT. I am also hopeful that other biotech companies will follow our lead in offering this kind of early entry research funding."