Led by Professor Jürgen Götz, scientists at QBI’s Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CJCADR) are developing a non-invasive ultrasound technology to treat Alzheimer’s disease and restore memory. The approach temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier, activating mechanisms that clear toxic protein clumps, and restoring memory functions. Research has been conducted in mouse models and is being scaled up in higher animal models. This breakthrough research is bringing hope to the hundreds of thousands of Australians currently living with the illness.

The research undertaken by CJCADR investigates, at a biochemical, molecular, behavioural, electrophysiological and histological and systems level, how ageing dementia causes neurodegeneration as well as the decline of memory and also, motor functions. This is complemented by studies into physiological ageing. The Centre uses as experimental systems mainly tissue culture cells and genetically modified mice and worms.

Professor Perry Bartlett has launched a world-first clinical trial to determine the amount of exercise that can reverse the effects of ageing on the brain. Ultimately, the aim is to have clear public health guidelines as to how exercise can both prevent and reverse dementia.

CJCADR is pursuing new strategies to reduce the burden of dementia. This includes the development of therapeutic antibodies. A major aim is the discovery of interventions to delay the onset, prevent and even cure dementia in patients, using novel drugs and better methods to deliver them to the brain. Another aim is the development of biomarkers to diagnose dementia earlier, more cheaply and with greater accuracy, and to monitor therapeutic interventions. Finally, lifestyle strategies will be formulated for maintaining a healthy brain.