Home  »  Meeting of international genomics minds

Meeting of international genomics minds

Recent meetings with visiting experts from Japan and Canada have highlighted the common issues being faced internationally in implementing genomics into healthcare – and underlined the important, leading work of our Alliance here in Victoria.

Osaka University’s Professor Kazuto Kato, Jusaku Minari, Nao Hamakawa and Hiroshi Toya visited Melbourne during March, holding meetings with the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) and Melbourne Genomics. Professor Kato also gave a presentation at RMH on recent work in genomics and medical research in Japan.

Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Public Policy at Osaka’s Graduate School of Medicine and a Project Professor of the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University, Professor Kato has served on many international projects and academic societies and is also a member of the steering committee for Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.

“It was a great pleasure to meet with Professor Kato and his colleagues, and to hear about developments in Japan towards national policies for data protection and sharing, biobanking, and informed consent and ethics review,” said Melbourne Genomics’ Executive Director, Associate Professor Clara Gaff. “In return, they were interested in the way the Alliance had managed the challenges of patient-informed clinical consent, patient engagement and secondary findings.”

During early April, Genome British Columbia’s Dr Catalina Lopez-Correa and Pascal Spothelfer met with the Australian Genomics Health Alliance and Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, to discuss the potential for future exchange and collaboration.

Mr Spothelfer is President and Chief Executive Officer for Genome British Columbia (Genome BC), and Dr Lopez-Correa is Vice-President for Sector Development and Chief Scientific Officer. The pair also spoke on the current work of Genome BC at a seminar held at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

“Our Alliance started with goal of implementing genomics into patient care. This is of great interest in other countries, where the approach has been to initially support discovery research and attention is now turning to the use of genomics within healthcare systems,” said Associate Professor Clara Gaff.

“The challenges we face in implementing genomics into healthcare are similar – whether we are in Japan, Australia or Canada. Opportunities for international sharing and exchange of ideas, strategies and solutions are important in speeding up and smoothing the path to implementation for patients across the world.”