Treating diseases with plants

Scientists from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), who are studying the use of plants to combat golden staph infections, heal wounds and treat diseases, have received an extra $1 million in funding.

QUT’s three research projects will be supported by a commercial research agreement and two Commonwealth Research Connection grants with biotech company Health Focus Products Australia (HFPA). These agreements will see $1,035,614 provided over three years to support the research.

“Project one utilises an Australian plant to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as golden staph), a common infection often acquired in hospital, which not only delays wound healing but is on the rise worldwide,” said Dr Trudi Collet, from the Indigenous Medicines Group in QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation.

“Our second project will explore the use of three different Australian plants for the treatment of chronic wounds. Globally, more than seven million people suffer from a chronic wound, while in Australia, 433,000 people are diagnosed each year. The associated treatment costs are estimated to be in excess of $2.6 billion.

“The third project under the agreement concerns the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”

HFPA’s chairman and founder, Dr Mark Baldock, said he was “very excited to hear of this work by Dr Collet” and said the funding was a commitment that recognised the value of the research even at its earliest stages.

“Our interest is in improving the plight of older Australians on a medical and social level,” he said.

“With our ageing population we are going to see an increase in health problems like dementia and chronic wounds, while the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections is another concern.

“[HFPA and QUT] have a common goal and I hope that in the future we can work more extensively with QUT. I am also hopeful that other biotech companies will follow our lead in offering this kind of early-entry research funding.”

Original article can be found here.