$9M new competitive research funding in 2021 through active collaboration

31 March 2022

2021 has been a very successful year for the Australasian Cerebral Palsy Clinical Trials Network (AusCP-CTN). Through collaboration and leveraging the teams clinical and research expertise, the team has collaboratively achieved over $9M new competitive research awards, including key prestigious grants:

  • Medical Research Frontiers Health Fund (MRFF; $1.4M 2021-2025) for School Readiness, a follow up study on 4-5yo children at risk of CP who participated in past early intervention studies (n>700), to assess the influence of these trials on child school readiness;
  • NHMRC Cohort and Clinical Trials ($2.4M; 2022-2026) for Active Strides, looking at the efficacy of Active Strides rehabilitation (combining intensive Cycling and Gait training) for non- ambulant children with CP compared to care-as-usual (CAU) to improve gross motor function, habitual PA, cardiorespiratory fitness, walking speed/distance, community participation, daily activities and mobility, goals, healthcare use, and quality of life assessments; and
  • NHMRC Synergy ($5M; 2022-2025) for Cerebral Palsy Synergy Program: reducing incidence and impact of CP through novel early biomarkers with translation through to precision-medicine trials. This program will build on our  previously NHMRC funded PPREMO and PREBO studies, developing very early neuroimaging, EEG, genomic and clinical biomarkers in infants/fetuses in utero at risk of CP for early identification, automated analysis and measurement of neuroplasticity in response to interventions.

These new injection of funding will AusCP-CTN to further expand findings from our previous studies (PPREMO/PREBO, REACH, GAME, PACT/Early PACT), and follow up with children and family who had been able to improve their quality of life due to the improvements of early diagnosis and earlier provision of interventions to optimise neuroplasticity.

The AusCP-CTN brings together international leaders in the field of CP on epidemiology, neuroprotection, genomics, neuroscience, early detection, rehabilitation, e-rehabilitation, with a track record of >50 randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of interventions, three International Clinical Practice Guidelines and best practice implementation studies. The AusCP-CTN combines teams at The University of Queensland; CP Alliance/University of Sydney, Westmead Children’s Hospital; Monash University/Monash Children’s Hospital; Telethon Kids Institute/Curtin University/Perth Children’s Hospital and the University of Auckland/Starship Children’s Hospital; linked to state-wide CP clinical teams.

The AusCP-CTN builds on >20 years of collaboration, who have achieved $160M+ competitive research funding. Other current key research support include:

  1. EU Horizon 2020 grant “BORNTOGETTHERE” Euro 3.5M, CIs A/Prof. Andrea Guzzetta, Dr Giusy Sgandurra (Pisa), Prof. Ros Boyd, Dr Kath Benfer for implementation of Early Detection, Surveillance and Early Intervention across six sites in Europe (Italy, Denmark, Holland, Georgia), SE Asia (Sri Lanka) in addition to remote and isolated Australia. Funding for the Australian part of the project was achieved from NHMRC (Aus$0.5M).
  2. NHMRC & Government-funded People Support: ~$10M across the AusCP-CTN team, including Prof. Ros Boyd (Investigator grant L1, 2021-2025), A/Prof. Leanne Sakzewski (ECR 2 2018-2022), Dr Kath Benfer (ECR1 2018 - 2025), Rose Gilmore (NHMC Postgraduate Scholarship), Prof. Iona Novak (Fulbright Scholar) and Prof. Michael Fahey (Fulbright Scholar).
  3. NHMRC Project & Partnership Grants (over $30M): HABIT-ILE; Participate CP; GAME; REACH; PREBO & PREBO-6; PREDICT; KiTE-CP & Early Natural History CP and the Early Moves Cohort study. 
  4. Philanthropic Funding Support: The team has secured over $20M project awards from philanthropic grantors including Merchant Charitable Foundation, Queensland Children’s Hospital Foundation, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and Perpetual Trustees, providing generous support to catalyse the foundation and progress of our projects, including: PACT and EARLY PACT; LEAP-CP Indigenous (both QLD and WA; PhD scholarship Carly Luke); VISIBLE; and Queensland Cerebral Palsy Rehabilitation & Research Centre (QCPRRC).

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