The Hearts & Minds partnership will also enable an innovative research trial into how advanced monitoring of oxygen levels in the brain may assist in protecting vulnerable newborns from brain injury.
While there are many causes of cerebral palsy, brain injuries in newborn babies caused by a lack of oxygen are known to be a major contributor. In Australia, 13 out of 14 cases of cerebral palsy occur in the uterus or before one month of age, meaning babies in NICU are at the greatest risk.
Conducted by a team led by Westmead Hospital’s Dr Pranav Jani, the study will be among the first of its kind and has the potential to prevent cerebral palsy in vulnerable babies, therefore improving learning, development and quality of life.
In partnering with Hearts & Minds, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation joins some of the most prestigious and impactful research institutes in Australia, including the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Black Dog Institute and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Green Light Institute.
“Hearts & Minds is an investment company with a difference, in that we provide both investment returns and social returns. We chose to fund CPA based on their track record of improving the outcomes of children born with, or at the risk of, cerebral palsy. We are confident that our research partnership will lead to further improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of vulnerable newborns,” said Paul Rayson, Chief Executive Officer of Hearts & Minds Investments.
Since being established in 2005, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation has been dedicated to accelerating the treatment and prevention of cerebral palsy, the most common physical disability in childhood. More than 34,000 Australians have cerebral palsy, and 17 million people worldwide live with the condition.
Professor Nadia Badawi AM, Medical Director and Co-Head, Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and CP Alliance Chair of Cerebral Palsy Research, The University of Sydney, said the projects enabled by Hearts & Minds would transform clinical newborn care.
“In the last 20 years, the survival rate of babies in our NICU has gone from 80% to over 97%. This extraordinary progress has been enabled by funding from the community, donors and visionary organisations such as Hearts & Minds. This partnership will help us to continue to deliver the best research in the world and get the best possible outcome for sick children and their families.”
“These two projects will have a profound impact on the standard of care for critically ill newborn babies, and we thank Hearts & Minds Investments for their commitment to scientific excellence and look forward to a long and worthwhile partnership,” said Professor Badawi.