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Record $150m boost to cardiovascular research.

Finding a cure for heart disease

June 2018

Record $150m boost to cardiovascular research.

Record $150m boost to cardiovascular research.

RPA clinicians and patients were on hand to help Premier Gladys Berejiklian announce a $150 million investment into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease.

Ms Berejiklian said the Cardiovascular Research Capacity Building Program will revolutionise the treatment and prevention of heart disease and stroke and will position NSW as the Premier State in Heart Research.

"Heart disease is a killer of too many people and this funding will go a long way to make sure the best minds are able to have the money to be able to continue their fantastic research work," Ms Berejiklian said.

One Australian dies every 12 minutes from heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases.

The funding will help support researchers to "crack codes" when it comes to the congenital, genetic and lifestyle conditions that are behind the disease, Ms Berejiklian said.

"It's just not about lifestyle, it's about congenital conditions, genetic conditions and unless we provide the researchers with the support to crack those codes too many Australians will continue to die."

RPA cardiologist Professor Chris Semsarian said patients will benefit from the NSW Government's focus on biomedical research and innovation.

The $150 million funding will support research grants aimed at advancing fundamental discoveries, to rapidly convert breakthroughs into better treatments for patients with heart disease.

"The issue of trying to keep talented people here is really tough. When you don't have funding they'll get offers all round the world," Professor Semsarian said.

"Now we have the opportunity to bring the brightest people and keep the brightest people."

One of Professor Semsarian's patients told how research into genetic heart disease saved her life.
Liz Jones's brother died suddenly in his 30s.

"Basically he gave his one year to his wife to breastfeed in the morning, made her a cup of tea, gave her a piece of toast, and went out for a morning job and just didn't come home," Liz (pictured second from right) said.

RPA researchers conducted state-of-the-art genomic analysis to find the genetic DNA cause of disease in the family. This new genetic information has been immediately translated in her family to allow more accurate and earlier diagnosis, and for prevention strategies to be initiated to prevent sudden death. Liz has an internal defibrillator fitted and it has saved her life multiple times.

"Money towards this research, I can't thank you enough, because for us, that means saving a life," Liz said.
John Bickerstaff was born with a congenital heart defect and had surgery in his 20s. He said he felt like he had to be "wrapped in cotton wool" and led a cautious, careful life.

He took part in a clinical trial on heart exercise, which found exposure to stress and weight training actually benefits patients with these type of conditions.

He is now able to live a normal life, including playing the drums in a band.

"It's pretty transformative, it's made a massive difference," John (pictured far right) said.

"These are the kind of things that research can just make a huge impact on people's lives ... rather than living a fairly constrained life, you get out and live life normally, it's just incredible."

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard also visited RPA with Ms Berejiklian.
The trio said the landmark funding in the 2018 NSW Budget would start with a $60 million rollout to researchers over the next four years.

"Heart disease remains Australia's No.1 killer but, with greater investment, researchers can predict, prevent and treat it more accurately," Ms Berejiklian said.

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