Media Release

Media Release

New research commitment welcomed but Government must address neurological research funding gap

7 May 2024

MS Australia has welcomed the Government’s pledge to invest in health and medical research but is concerned that not enough attention or funding is being dedicated to neurological research.

Australia’s national multiple sclerosis (MS) not-for-profit organisation says neurological conditions must be considered a major national priority for medical research and has repeated its calls for the establishment of a dedicated Neurological Research Mission.

MS Australia CEO Rohan Greenland says the ‘Health Research for a Future Made in Australia’ package promises to deliver a more strategic and coordinated approach to research funding.

“I’m very pleased to see the Government reaffirm its commitment to Research Missions through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) with the establishment of two new Missions.

“Given the Government’s position is to establish new missions, MS Australia will continue its calls to the Government to allocate funding to establish a MRFF Neurological Mission,” Mr Greenland said.

Millions of Australians live with a progressive neurological or neuromuscular condition in Australia, with an annual cost to the Australian economy of over $36 billion.

MS Australia President Associate Professor Des Graham says Neurological conditions must be a major national priority for medical research.

“The establishment of an MRFF Neurological Mission would assist in bringing together key researchers, health professionals, stakeholders, industry partners and patients to tackle the health challenges related to neurological conditions,” Associate Professor Graham said.

Last week’s Government announcement also included funding through the MRFF for CureMOG: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre phase III clinical trial for the treatment of MOGAD. Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder affecting the brain and spinal cord. MOGAD is an MS-related condition which can sometimes be confused for MS. MS Australia was a partner on this application, which received $2,806,584. The trial is being led by Associate Professor Sudarshini Ramanathan from The University of Sydney.

MS Australia would also like to congratulate Dr Izanne Roos, The University of Melbourne, who was awarded an NHMRC Investigator Grant of $647,400. Her project is focusing on the evidence-based use of high-efficacy therapies in MS. Dr Roos is currently receiving an MS Australia fellowship focused on preventing disability in people with severe forms of MS.

Mr Greenland welcomed that investment and acknowledged a previous $18 million Commonwealth Government investment into Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) research.

$18 million was allocated from the MRFF in the 2022-2023 budget to bolster research efforts focused on MS, to help provide access to clinical trials and accelerate the availability of effective therapeutics for the treatment of the EBV, an MS risk factor.

MS Australia partnered with Australian research teams in five successful bids for this government funding, totaling almost $10 million.

Part of this research will take advantage of large collections of biological samples and clinical information collected over many years within MS Australia’s National Collaborative Research Platforms.

Mr Greenland says MS Australia acknowledges and highly values the Commonwealth Government’s significant investment into EBV research.

“MS Australia is working closely with outstanding Australian researchers to ensure this investment is maximised to fast-track answers that will lead to better outcomes for the MS community,” Mr Greenland said.

Download Media Release in PDF

MEDIA CONTACTS:
media@msaustralia.org.au
Lisa Montague – 0412 002 544
Jayme Markus – 0401 944 905
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New research commitment welcomed but Government must address neurological research funding gap