Local sufferers of bipolar disorder could see a change in treatment as a result of ground-breaking research thanks to a $2.46 million NSW Government grant.


Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said today’s announcement by Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies will see a major collaborative project map the genetics of 1200 people in NSW with the troubling disorder.


“Bipolar disorder can be difficult to manage for many people in our local community so the more that can be done to find improved ways to treat this significant mental health condition, the better,” Mr Anderson said.


“Mental illness can attract stigma and discrimination, which can be one of the biggest problems for someone with these disorders which is why we continue to invest in mental health so that we can better the lives of those in our community.


Health Minister Brad Hazzard said “This grant is a real game changer. It will allow researchers to apply cutting-edge science to find answers to how this significant mental health condition is influenced by genetics.”


“By providing researchers with access to the latest genomics technology, the NSW Government is playing a part in establishing the state as a national and international leader in genomic medicine.”


Mrs Davies said about 250,000 people are affected by bipolar disorder in Australia.


“They face a range of issues, including reduced life expectancy due to increased risk of suicide and higher rates of severe cardiovascular disease,” Mrs Davies said.


“This project has the potential to identify the genetic makeup of people living with bipolar disorder and discover if they would benefit from personalised treatment.”  


The funding, from the latest round of NSW Genomics Collaborative Grants, will enable access to a sequencing facility at the Garvan Institute and involve researchers at the Sax Institute, NeuRA, Black Dog Institute, UNSW and the Prince of Wales Hospital.


The Office for Health and Medical Research will release details about future funding for genomic medicine research later this year.


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