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Almost 4,000 patients receive DNA testing, improving care and saving lives

More than 3,800 patients have now received DNA testing for 16 medical conditions through Melbourne Genomics, improving and saving the lives of Victorians.

Results from Melbourne Genomics’ program show 19 times more people received informative results through genomic sequencing than from usual care. Nine times more patients had a change in care following their results.

Through Melbourne Genomics, genomic sequencing helped terminal cancer patients, critically ill babies in intensive care, and adults and children with genetic kidney diseases.

“Genomics can improve lives and it can save lives,” said Melbourne Genomics Executive Director, Prof Clara Gaff.

“We’ve found that when we provided genomic sequencing to patients, hundreds of people had a change in their treatment. Many avoided further invasive, painful and unnecessary tests. They received more precise and personalised treatment, and some stopped receiving potentially harmful therapies,” Prof Gaff said.

“Test turnaround times became faster, giving patients the information they needed, sooner. Precious healthcare dollars were saved, including more than half a million dollars in one project alone,” she added.

Melbourne Genomics was established in 2013 to identify the widespread change needed for the integration of translational genomic research into best clinical practice. The current program (2016-2019) was funded by $25 million from the Victorian Government and a further $10 million from the 10 Alliance members.

“The Victorian Government investment to date has been life-changing for patients,” Prof Gaff said. “Victoria started an Australian push to improve healthcare through genomics. We want to ensure the momentum continues so hospitals around Victoria are prepared for genomics.”

“We’ve shown that genomics can replace other expensive and sometimes painful investigations. It can mean people spend less time in hospital, keeping people healthier for longer.”

Key facts and findings

  • 3,854 Victorians received genomic testing
  • 19 times more patients received informative results* than from usual care
  • 16 disease areas
  • Tests delivered up to 10 times faster for critically ill patients

Cancer and rare disease

  • 42% of patients received an informative result*
  • Half of these patients had a change in treatment – nine times more than usual care

Superbugs

  • 648 patients were provided with informative results* which would have been missed in usual care

Learn more about the 16 disease areas (2016-2020) here and (2014-2015) here 

* ‘Informative results’ include diagnosis of a specific condition, as well as more precise information that might rule out conditions a patient may have

Photo: Patient Michael Wright from the advanced solid cancer project received a more precise answer to the underlying cause of his cancer, changing his treatment. 

See him tell his story, here