Peptide shows promise of protecting infant brains

On 19 October 2018, WA Health Minister Roger Cook MLA, announced funding for the Stroke Research Group for protecting infant brains from the Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in the lead up to the Telethon7 Perth weekend. Details of the media statement are below:

  • Brain researchers investigate promising peptide compound to protect the brain of newborn babies
  • Potential treatment and therapy for some babies at risk of cerebral palsy and other permanent types of brain damage
  • Project funded by Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund grant

Western Australian researchers believe they have identified a compound that could protect the brain cells of newborns who have had a stroke-like event around the time of birth.

Their confidence stems from results achieved with a peptide dubbed ‘R18’.

R18 has been used in trials with brain cell cultures and pre-clinical models that mimic the stroke-like condition, known as hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE).

HIE affects three in every 1,000 live births, with up to 15 to 25 per cent of affected babies dying and an additional 25 to 60 per cent sustaining permanent brain damage, resulting in cerebral palsy, epilepsy or learning disabilities.

The research is being led by Associate Professor Bruno Meloni, a neuroscientist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science.

Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:

“This project is a credit to Associate Professor Meloni and his team and an example of the innovative, world-class research taking place inside Western Australia’s public health system.

“The lifetime healthcare costs associated with treating a single patient with cerebral palsy are estimated at $1.2 million to $1.3 million, but the human cost of such a condition is incalculable.

“As we prepare to embrace Channel 7’s Telethon this weekend, research like this is the perfect reminder of how the money you donate dramatically improves the lives of WA’s sick kids. I’m looking forward to doing my bit for Telethon 2018 when I saddle up and join the cycle team in the HBF 24-hour fitness challenge at PCEC.”

Read the West Australian newspaper article on the above from 19 October 2018

Pictured: Professor Bruno Meloni featured in The West  Australian.