The RMH neurologist and The Florey Institute researcher Dr Thanuja Dharmadasa has received funding for three grants in a record investment from FightMND.
Dr Dharmadasa received the Clinical Investigator Award as well as two research grants as part of FightMND’s record grant round, funding 23 MND research and care initiatives totalling $20.2 million.
Dr Dharmadasa’s grants will go towards her vision of establishing a collaborative centre to advance care and research for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Once established, it will be the first of its kind in Victoria, with links to state and national MND networks as well as international research with Oxford University, from where she has recently returned.
“I am so incredibly excited and grateful to receive this funding from FightMND,” Dr Dharmadasa said.
“It now gives us many opportunities to bring together the best minds, the best tools and the best research to tackle this complex problem, which give us our best chance towards a cure.”
MND is a terminal neurological disease where people living with the condition progressively lose the ability to walk, talk, feed themselves and eventually breathe. The current life expectancy for MND is 30 months post-symptom onset.
The funding will also support care initiatives for people living with MND, which, Dr Dharmadasa said, will greatly benefit patients at the RMH.
“As a neurologist, I am always looking for ways we can improve care for those already living with the condition,” she said.
“Patients with MND who come to our clinic at the RMH will now have greater access to more options and pathways to help improve their quality of life.”
One of the world’s largest independent funders of MND research, FightMND’s record-breaking grants round was made possible largely due to the support of Australians purchasing merchandise to support the Foundation, in the lead up to the annual “Big Freeze” AFL match between Melbourne and Collingwood.
“Today’s record announcement is only possible thanks to the terrific support of everyone who’s donated online, bought a beanie, socks or a scarf, and the generosity of our wonderful partners and stakeholders,” FightMND Patron Neale Daniher said.
“We know we are making inroads to ‘beat the beast’, but it is time consuming and expensive, and this funding will allow even more very clever people to really pursue some amazing and innovative research."
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