Researchers in the field of macular degeneration will soon be able to apply for the next round of Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) Research Grant funding.
Expressions of interest have opened, and official applications can be lodged from 1 March 2019. Applications will close on 2 June 2019, with the successful grant recipients announced in October 2019, on World Sight Day.
MDFA has provided AU$3.6 million in grant money to Australian researchers and institutions since 2011. Many of the projects funded by MDFA are for foundational research, which is crucial to our understanding of macular degeneration.
One recently completed project, a 2015 grant to Dr. Laura Downie and colleagues from the University of Melbourne, has led to the development of the Macular Degeneration Clinical Care Audit Tool or MaD-CCAT, now being piloted by optometry practices around Australia.
The MaD-CCAT enables streamlined auditing of several aspects of age related macular degeneration (AMD) care, including the identification of modifiable risk factors (such as smoking and diet), accuracy of clinical diagnosis, rate and timeliness of referrals to ophthalmologists, and overall quality of clinical record keeping.
Expressions of interest have opened, and official applications can be lodged from 1 March 2019
An ongoing grant project, being conducted by Professor Erica Fletcher, also from the University of Melbourne, is hoping to develop a develop a blood test, to predict who is going to be at the highest risk of progression to late stage AMD.
The second stage of the research is to look at why immune cells stop working in patients with AMD, why they stop working as well as they should, why they fail to remove cellular waste in our bodies… and whether we can tweak the process to make those cells work better,” Prof. Fletcher said.
Prof. Fletcher said MDFA research grants were critical for early stage projects.
“We learn a huge amount about the disease (macular degeneration), we learn a huge amount about why people develop the disease and we hope that… we can develop new treatments and new ways of managing people and that, in the end, is going to benefit hundreds of thousands of people in Australia.”
To be eligible for MDFA grants, research projects must be related to macular degeneration. The administering institution must be registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council and/or the Australian Research Council; and the Primary Investigator must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and based in Australia.
Further information on the MDFA Research Grants Program is available in the Research section of the MDFA website: www.mdfoundation.com.au
Application forms and instructions will be available from the MDFA website from 1 March 2019.