The University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre have announced their intention to establish a new centre to transform how genomics and precision oncology is delivered in Australia. The proposed venture is an important milestone in The Advanced Genomic Collaboration's mission to increase genomics innovation while ensuring research is translated and adopted into the healthcare system, improving patient outcomes.
The announcement was welcomed by Illumina Commercial Lead for Oceania, Simon Giuliano. “The foundation of precision medicine is genomics and the future of healthcare is expanding from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, which sees healthcare professionals making treatment decisions based on general population data and averages," he said.
"As each individual has a distinct genetic makeup, precision medicine considers the unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that influence the health of each patient. By using these factors, precision medicine can provide more accurate diagnoses, targeted treatments, and personalized health recommendations.”
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the centre and formalise how Peter Mac and University of Melbourne will work together over the next year was signed in August.
The model will be unique in the Asia Pacific region, bringing together The University of Melbourne and Peter Mac’s world-leading cancer, genomics and precision medicine experts into a unified group.
The centre will deepen collaboration across these specialities and encourage new joint research initiatives in the discovery-phase and clinical application of genomics. It will become a focal point in the cancer care landscape, forming strong connections with global clinical trial networks and industry - who will benefit from and contribute to TAGC's core enabling platforms.
The MoU was signed by Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Professor Jane Gunn.
“Coming together to share knowledge and resources can improve the lives of people with cancer by increasing our capacity to advance genomic innovation, offer precision medicine, and deliver effective new therapies and prevention strategies,” Professor Gunn said.
“This collaboration will advance our knowledge and capability, enabling more people to access high-quality treatment, improving equitable access to health care for those who need it most.”
Peter Mac Chief Executive, Professor Shelley Dolan said the two organisations have a long history of collaboration, with a shared vision of enhancing patient access to evidence-based cancer care.
“We’re excited to be embarking on a mission to increase the scale, capacity and reach of precision cancer care in Victoria,” Professor Dolan said.
“It will mean more patients, including those in regional areas, will have access to this service which is critical in terms of the treatments they receive and for their outcomes from cancer.”
Genomics involves patients undergoing a genetic test and using this information to personalise their care. It often enables patients to be diverted to treatments most likely to work for them, and so avoiding potential toxicities and time lost to treatments less likely to work.
Key aims of the new centre will be to:
- Establish novel genome diagnostic referral services for patients with unmet needs
- Close the gap in regional access to genomics by increasing the number of delivery models and expert services
- Broaden and co-develop genomic and bioinformatic research capability and infrastructure for cancer discovery and genomic medicine
- Drive precision oncology clinical implementation across Peter Mac, Victoria and nationally.