Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care
The Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care (ADRC), supported by the Western Australian Government's Centre of Excellence in Science and Innovation program, is a unique collaborative research venture based at ECU and the McCusker Foundation for Alzheimers Disease Research at Hollywood Private Hospital in Perth, WA.
The ADRC is additionally funded by ECU and other partners including Amana Living, Hall and Prior Aged Care Group, Hollywood Private Hospital, McCusker Learning and Development, the McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease Research, Australian Neuromuscular Research Institute, University of WA and Murdoch University.
The Centre brings together researchers in different disciplines, including prominent clinical researchers, leading exercise physiologists, experts in state-of-the-art brain imaging and experts in dementia and palliative care.
Acknowledging that a world free of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a laudable but long-term goal, the Centres objectives are to:
- Contribute to lowering the burden of AD on the individual and the community
- Make a substantial difference in the care, well-being and quality of life of sufferers and carers
- Develop effective treatments that delay the onset of the disease and reduce its progression.
At the forefront of AD research, Centre Director Professor Ralph Martins was part of a team led by Professor Colin Masters of the University of Melbourne, which, in a world-first breakthrough, discovered that plaques which appeared in the brains of AD sufferers were formed from the toxic form of a protein called beta amyloid.
Professor Martins was the first to identify that oxidative stress plays a major role in Alzheimer's Disease. It is now accepted by scientists worldwide that beta amyloid and oxidative stress is a major cause of the nerve damage that leads to the diseases debilitating memory loss. Lowering beta amyloid levels and the associated oxidative stress is now considered the major target for developing therapeutic strategies to effectively treat AD.
Most recently, ADRC researchers received international acclaim for proving a link between beta amyloid and obesity. They showed that a high-fat diet and low physical activity play an important role in the accumulation of beta amyloid in the blood.
Professor Martins and his team are now investigating rational therapeutic strategies for AD, aimed at lowering beta amyloid levels.
Professor Ralph Martins
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5456