Genomic medicine – healthcare informed by greater knowledge of our DNA – is advancing rapidly. Technology now enables us to ‘read’ our DNA and use this information to change patient outcomes, improve treatment and save lives. But genomic medicine is not yet an ongoing part of Victoria's health system. Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance is working to produce evidence to inform the implementation of genomic medicine in Victoria and to establish systems to support genomics in practice — ensuring it can be part of everyday medicine for every Victorian who needs it.
The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance was established in 2013 with a transformative vision: to generate the widespread, complex change necessary to deliver genomics into the Victorian health system for the benefit of patients.
The Alliance is a collaboration of 10 leading hospitals, research and academic organisations, supported by the Victorian Government (through the Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS). Alliance members recognised that collective vision and collaborative effort were needed to drive change at the vanguard of genomic medicine, and to bridge the gap between research innovation and healthcare reality.
Our Demonstration Project (2014 to 2015) showed that the Alliance’s vision to integrate genomic medicine into healthcare was possible. The project provided valuable insights into the nature of the challenges and how these might be resolved. Now, Melbourne Genomics is driving the widespread change, gathering the evidence and building the systems that are making genomic medicine a reality — with the support of a $25 million funding commitment from the Victorian Government (2016 to 2020) and $10 million in contributions from the Alliance members.
Already, we are seeing the power of genomics to have an immediate impact on the lives of Victoria’s patients. Melbourne Genomics' rigorous, world-leading translational research has shown how genomics can result in care that is moreeective, ecient and more likely to succeed rst time. More than 3,800 patients have received genomic testing through ourprojects across 16 areas of healthcare — for conditions that affect the heart, immune system, kidneys, nervous system orblood; for complex conditions in children; for cancer; and for superbug control.
The Alliance's deeply collaborative model has become the international gold standard for bringing genomics into healthcare. The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance members are:
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) is one of Victoria’s leading public teaching hospitals. The RMH City Campus in Parkville is a tertiary teaching referral hospital providing specialist and general medical and surgical services - including cardiac, neuroscience and oncology. The RMH also provides a major trauma service and hosts the Victorian Infectious Disease Service.
The Royal Children’s Hospital
The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) has been providing care for Victoria's children and their families for over 140 years. The RCH is the major specialist paediatric hospital in Victoria and extends care to children from Tasmania, southern New South Wales, other states around Australia and overseas.
The University of Melbourne
Established in 1853, the University of Melbourne is a public institution that makes distinctive contributions to society in research, learning, teaching and engagement. The University of Melbourne is consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world, with international rankings of world universities placing it at number one in Australia and at 34th place in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012 to 2013). Based in Parkville, the University of Melbourne undertakes a range medical research programs, including the Bio21 Institute and the Melbourne Translational Genomics Platform.
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is Australia's oldest medical research institute and celebrates its centenary in 2015. The institute has more than 750 researchers working to improve understanding, diagnosis and treatment for cancers, immune disorders and infectious diseases. It is affiliated with The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital and offers postgraduate training as the Department of Medical Biology of The University of Melbourne. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's research into the underlying causes of disease will enable better genomic tests and treatments for a range of diseases.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Murdoch Children's Research Institute is the preeminent child health research institute in Australia, and is recognised globally for its child health discoveries. Researchers at the Institute work side-by-side with doctors and nurses from campus partners: The Royal Children's Hospital and the University of Melbourne's Department of Paediatrics. This provides researchers with greater patient interaction for research, as well as the enhanced ability to translate research discoveries into practical treatments for children.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
CSIRO is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. CSIRO’s health and wellbeing research covers the prevention and early detection of cancers and neurological diseases, advanced nutrition and foods, medical information, imaging and biomaterials.
Australian Genome Research Facility
The Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF) was established in 1997 as part of the Commonwealth Government's Major National Research Facility Program. The AGRF supports genome research and genetic discovery across the entire biological spectrum, from viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi, to plants, animals and humans.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer treatment, research and education. Peter Mac treats more cancer patients each year than any other hospital in Australia. Peter Mac's highly skilled medical, nursing and allied health team is backed by the largest cancer research group in the country. Every day at Peter Mac, teams of researchers investigate cancer at the laboratory bench, in the clinic and at the patient bedside: this perpetual research cycle is unique in cancer in Australia.
Austin Health is the major provider of tertiary health services and health professional education and research in the north east of Melbourne. Austin Health is renowned for its specialist work in cancer, liver transplantation, spinal cord injuries, neurology, endocrinology, mental health and rehabilitation.
Monash Health is Victoria’s leading integrated health service serving the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Monash Health provides award-winning healthcare across the entire lifespan – from pre-birth, newborn babies and children, to the aged, their families and carers. Specialties include paediatrics, cardiology, women's health, kidney and pancreas transplants and intensive care for sick and preterm babies in the first few weeks and months of life. Monash Health integrates uniquely in one organisation primary, secondary and tertiary health services, as well as university affiliated international research and teaching facilities.