A new genomics centre that will harness DNA sequencing technology to detect cancer-causing genetic mutations, transform treatment and prevent hereditary forms of the disease has opened in Brisbane.
One of the largest programs of its kind in Australasia, the Australian Translational Genomics Centre will lead to potentially fewer side-effects and better survival rates for cancer patients, according to Health Minister Cameron Dick.
“Within the next 10 to 15 years, genome sequencing will replace most genetic tests currently used, and nearly all patients with significant cancers will have whole exome sequences to inform treatment choices,” Dick said.
“In some cases the ATGC would be able to screen patient’s relatives to prevent similar cancers arising.”
Based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, more than 2000 Queenslanders each year will have access to the cutting edge technology.
A partnership between the Queensland University of Technology, Queensland Health’s Metro South Hospital and Health Service, and Queensland Health’s Pathology Queensland business unit, the centre will apply genomic science to clinical care.
“This Queensland-first cutting edge genomic diagnostic service will also enable significant research into cancer causation, helping with the development of better therapies,” QUT Director of Genomics Professor Matthew Brown said.
The state government has contributed to the centre through its $25 million Queensland Genomic Health Alliance, which aims to introduce genomics into routine healthcare. So far the program has announced funding for nine projects.