Spider venom could combat stroke damage worldwide
Queensland and Chinese researchers will collaborate on biomedical research that has the potential to reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and strokes worldwide.
One team will look at nanomedicines to treat Alzheimer’s, while another will explore the use of spider venom to treat pain and stroke-induced brain injury.
The two teams have been funded under this year’s Queensland-Chinese Academy of Sciences (Q-CAS) Collaborative Science Fund.
Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch said the teams, made up of University of Queensland and Chinese partners, would each receive $250,000.
‘One recipient team, the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and the Chinese Institute of Process Engineering – Chinese Academy of Science, will develop multifunctional nanomedicines that treat Alzheimer’s disease,’ Minister Enoch said.
‘Alzheimer’s has a big impact on our aging community, affecting 10–30% of people over the age of 65, and this project could dramatically improve the quality of life for those patients.’
Nanomedicine involves applying nanotechnology (minute devices) to prevent and treat disease.
The other grant recipients are the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Biosciences and the University of Science and Technology of China, which are using funnel-web spider venom as a source of molecules to treat pain and stroke-induced brain injury.
‘Each spider’s venom is made up of hundreds to thousands of peptides, and the project team has searched through these venoms to find individual peptides that have the desired therapeutic properties,’ Ms Enoch said.
‘Stroke is the biggest killer in China, and the third leading cause of death in Australia, while chronic pain affects 1 in 6 people in both countries, with a higher economic burden than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined.
‘If we can unlock new ways to combat these potentially deadly issues, it will lead to positive health and economic benefits on a global scale,’ Ms Enoch said.
The Q-CAS Fund is a joint initiative delivered through Advance Queensland and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, providing separate grants up to $125,000 ($250,000 total) over 2 years to support Queensland and Chinese researchers undertaking innovative research and development.
The biomedical and life sciences sector is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.
This article was originally published on Trade & Investment Queensland