Shake It Up announces funding to upgrade and expand world-class clinical trials hub
Monday, 9th October 2023

Australia will soon have the capacity to host more in-depth and innovative clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease after funding was announced to develop a best-practice model at Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital. 

Shake It Up Australia has provided $200,000 in funding to the Neuroscience Clinical Trials Unit, Australia’s only early-phase neuroscience clinical trials facility, to be refurbished with cutting-edge equipment.

The upgraded centre will increase access to ‘first-in-disease’ therapies and accommodate multi-day patient stays. The aim is to create a blueprint for a nation-wide Parkinson’s clinical trials network. 

Shake It Up CEO Vicki Miller said: “We are dedicated to supporting pioneering Parkinson’s research in Australia, and the refurbished Neuroscience Clinical Trials Unit at The Alfred will certainly facilitate that.

“Clinical trials are an imperative part of our tireless mission to discover more effective treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s, which affects over 200,000 Australians. 

“The upgraded hub will give scientists the tools to conduct boundary-breaking trials in greater volume, increasing our understanding of the disease and pushing us closer to cracking the disease’s code. 

“A sincere thanks goes to the generous Bendat Family Foundation, who wanted to make a tangible impact to Parkinson’s research and, via Shake It Up, provided the funding for this project.” 

Dr Kelly Bertram, Head of Movement Disorders at The Alfred, hailed the refurbishment of the Neuroscience Clinical Trials Unit as an exciting moment for Parkinson’s researchers and patients. 

“Parkinson’s disease is very common, and increasing in prevalence, but all treatments to date have only provided symptomatic benefit without altering the disease course,” Dr Bertram said. 

“Clinical trials allow us to progress the science rapidly, translating findings in the laboratory to the human disease. Patients have the opportunity to be part of the process of finding new treatment options, as well as potentially trial new medications and novel treatments such as stem cell technology in safe conditions. 

“Excitingly, the redeveloped Neuroscience Clinical Trials Unit at The Alfred is set to be modelled in other locations to create a unique network of clinical trials units specifically for Parkinson’s.” 

The Alfred’s Neuroscience Clinical Trials Unit has the capacity to manage trials along the entire medication development pipeline, from target discovery to phase IV clinical trials.