RMIT researchers will help drive the next wave of medical breakthroughs to beat lung diseases after winning more than $3.4 million in government funding.
The latest round of funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council will support four major projects.
Professor Ross Vlahos has won funding for two projects that will lead to better outcomes for sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) -- a major and incurable health burden across the globe.
The first, worth more than $1 million, will examine why sufferers of COPD develop skeletal muscle waste.
“Skeletal muscle wasting and loss of strength severely impact on COPD sufferers’ quality of life and survival,” Vlahos said.
“The reason for this is unknown. The aim of this study is to determine how skeletal muscle wasting occurs and develop new medicines to treat this.”
Vlahos’ second project, which has received more than $870,000 in funding, focuses on the negative impact COPD has on brain function.
Up to 60 per cent of COPD patients suffer from cognitive dysfunction -- a brain disorder that affects learning, memory and attention, and which often leads to dementia.
“We hope to determine why people with COPD suffer from mental disorders, then develop novel treatments to treat these patients,” said Vlahos.
Other RMIT researchers to be funded include Associate Professor Steven Bozinovski, who will use his $897,000 to explore new naturally derived treatments for lung cancer.
Dr Jonathan McQualter will use his $580,000 to investigate how stem cells can help treat irreversible and life-limiting scarring on the lungs.
Story: James Giggacher