Genomics Innovation Hub to enable personalised cancer treatment


Tuesday, 19 July, 2016


The University of Melbourne and the Australian Genomics Research Facility (AGRF) have launched the Genomics Innovation Hub — a collaborative initiative that will help pave the way for personalised cancer treatments based on patients’ genetic profiles.

Professor Sean Grimmond, director of cancer research of the University of Melbourne, explained that the Hub will see Australia move away from treatment based “around the type of cancer and not the person”.

“We know the underlying root causes can be different from person to person, and genomics helps us get to the fundamentals of these different responses,” he said.

Professor Grimmond said Australia will join an international effort to transform cancer research in diagnostics, technology, bioinformatics and industry partnerships — an effort that is “on a par with the cooperation we saw in World War II to break the Enigma code”.

“In global terms, Australia has been late to the genomics revolution, so early access to disruptive technologies is crucial to Australia’s global competitive advantage,” he said.

“Genome centres overseas have devoted considerable investment to these big data approaches. This Hub will ensure Australia does not miss out on advances in genomic-driven advances in drug development and oncology, and will lay the foundations for advances in the global effort to transform cancer research and treatment.”

Hub partners include the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. The Hub is further strengthened through the support of Bioplatforms Australia and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

“The Hub will enable us to share research and resources in a way that no single institution can do on its own,” said Dr Kirby Siemering, director of genomics innovation at AGRF. “We’ll acquire, test and develop new and disruptive technologies that are crucial for Australia to be at the forefront of medical research and patient care.”

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