Major funding boost for Flinders research into Childhood Dementia

The South Australian Government is partnering with the Little Heroes Foundation to provide a $500,000 funding boost for much-needed research into the fatal and aggressive condition known as Childhood Dementia at Flinders University.

Childhood Dementia is a devastating and under-recognised group of genetic disorders, which result in potentially irreversible brain damage beginning in childhood.

Like adult dementia, childhood dementia is progressive, meaning children lose their ability to talk, walk, read, write, and play. An estimated 91 Australians die with childhood dementia each year, almost as many who die from childhood cancer.

The nation-leading partnership will enable the Childhood Dementia Research Group at Flinders University to grow its research.

The Flinders Research Group has already made an early discovery on a drug that changes some childhood dementia impacted cells to make them more like normal cells.

Professor Kim Hemsley outlines how the funding boost will support research into Childhood Dementia at Flinders University.

Professor Kim Hemsley Head of Flinders University Childhood Dementia Research Group said the University is pursuing world-leading research to develop new treatments for childhood dementia, and this crucial funding will support discoveries with the potential to improve the quality of life of thousands of children.

“The research has until now focused on treatments for Sanfilippo Syndrome and will be expanded to target other types of childhood dementia, including Niemann-Pick disease, thanks to the support of the South Australian Government and Little Heroes Foundation.”

“This funding is also an investment in the next generation of researchers in South Australia with Dr Siti Mubarokah leading this important medical research.”

According to the Childhood Dementia Initiative, 1 in every 2,900 babies is born with a condition that causes childhood dementia. Half of all children with dementia die by the age of ten.

Approximately 2,500 Australian children have dementia, 120 of them in South Australia. To support vital research into the condition, the State Government will contribute $250,000 to the Little Heroes Foundation, which itself will contribute $250,000 to support research outcomes.

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