New dementia centre of research excellence set to bring fast, accurate and equitable dementia diagnosis for all Australians

A new Centre of Research Excellence in Enhanced Dementia Diagnosis (CREEDD) will be established at The Florey to $3M awarded funding from the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council.

The program aims to develop new pathways to implement diagnostic technologies for dementia into clinics around Australia and improve the level of care, treatment and overall health outcomes for people living with dementia.

Associate Professor Scott Ayton

Led by Associate Professor Scott Ayton, CREEDD will gather a multidisciplinary group of neuroscientists, implementation scientists, and clinicians, including Professors Amy Brodtmann and Ashley Bush from the Florey and research partners at Monash University, The University of Melbourne, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Turner Institute, Austin Health, and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

The team aims to take several diagnostic technologies showing promise in research settings and investigate these in a real-world clinical setting. Additionally, they plan to advance the development of diagnostic tools, such as blood biomarkers, MRI brain imaging and cognitive testing, to expedite their translation from research to patient care.

No objective tests are used currently in clinical practice to determine dementia, a diagnostic gap which has fuelled common issues of delay and inaccuracy experienced by people who are first diagnosed. It is this uncertainty in diagnosis that the work of CREEDD hope to ameliorate by providing new technologies able to accurately diagnose dementia early on in disease at a time when therapeutic intervention can be most effective.

Clinical expertise from The Florey and partners will forge pathways to test and adopt these new technologies with their implementation into clinical services led by Monash University.

“It is well acknowledged that the growing prevalence of dementias in our aging population will continue to test the capacity of our health systems. We now have the opportunity to harness new diagnostic technologies that are emerging in medical research and apply them in the clinic where they have the potential to significantly improve current approaches in the diagnosis of dementia,” said Associate Professor Ayton, Head of the Translational Neurodegeneration Laboratory at The Florey.

“We hope our work can ultimately provide better accuracy and delivery of diagnostic information to clinicians to help guide treatment options and care given to patients and their families,” he continued.

CREEDD will run alongside a new dementia research project at The Florey that was also recently funded by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund. Led by Professor Ashley Bush, the project will work with commercial partners to introduce the first TGA-registered blood test for Alzheimer’s disease. CREEDD endeavours to take promising diagnostics identified in this project, and in memory clinics around Australia to test their value and appropriateness in the real world.

“Overall, this program is about creating lasting change in the clinical practice of diagnosing dementia nationwide. We thank the Australian Government for their support in funding our mission to see faster, more accurate and equitable dementia diagnosis and care across Australia,” added Associate Professor Ayton.