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Major funding boost for Melbourne Genomics

Premier, Minister and Melbourne Genomics addressing the media

The Victorian Government has provided a significant funding boost that will enable greater access to genomic medicine for Victoria’s hospital patients.

Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, which brings together clinical, research and teaching strengths among Victoria’s leading hospitals and research organisations, received $25 million over the next four years in this year’s State Budget.

“The Alliance members are incredibly excited by the Victorian Government’s commitment to significantly invest in our world-leading, whole-of-system approach,” said Dr Gareth Goodier, Chair of the Executive Committee for Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance and Chief Executive of The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

“This funding will help the Alliance fulfil its vision of transforming genomic medicine into everyday health care for the benefit of patients.”

Over the next four years, the Alliance will work to identify which patients can benefit from genome sequencing, as well as the optimal timing and circumstances for such testing.

“We will do this by offering genomic testing to targeted groups of patients, alongside usual approaches to diagnosis and care – and then evaluate the outcomes,” said Associate Professor Clara Gaff, Program Leader for Melbourne Genomics.

“From this work, we will be able to see where genomics has most benefit and how it can be best applied across the Victorian hospital system.”

“Creating the optimal system for Victoria also means educating health workers, being able to rapidly adopt the latest research into everyday practice, and ensuring that patients, doctors and researchers have access to good information when they need it.”

Genomics is a rapidly advancing field worldwide, which examines an individual’s complete set of genetic information (the genome) to identify changes (variants) that may impact on health. Genomics offers enormous potential to improve diagnosis and provide more personalised treatment/management of medical conditions.

“Looking at what is being done across the world, we believe that a collaborative model is the best means to achieving the quickest and most effective transition to genomic medicine,” said Dr Goodier. “We are lucky that in Victoria, the healthcare sector is uniquely placed to find the best way to deliver genomic medicine for all Victorians.”

“Our trial project last year showed that bringing together researchers with the latest advances, doctors with their clinical expertise and patients with their experience results in mutual learning and optimal ways to implement genomics for the benefit of everyone in healthcare,” said Associate Professor Gaff.