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Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in Australia – and the world – but does the funding for research to find better treatments and cures match the overall burden of the disease?

Assoc Prof Mary Kavurma, leader of the Vascular Complications Group at the Heart Research Institute (HRI), spoke to Cosmos Magazine recently about the need for more basic science research and the effects of funding shortfalls.

“A limb is amputated every two hours in Australia due to peripheral artery disease (PAD),” says Assoc Prof Kavurma, a specialist in PAD. “We need far more insight into conditions like PAD, and the underlying coronary heart disease. And this is only possible through basic discovery research.”

Assoc Prof Kavurma says there is a funding shortage across all disciplines, but believes it is especially pronounced in cardiovascular research, despite the high cost to the health system of cardiovascular disease.

“Without discovery research there are no medical breakthroughs, yet today we see a significant decline in funding for discovery researchers,” says Assoc Prof Kavurma.

“There is no translation or advancement in knowledge without the discovery pipeline.”

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