Following the Australian-first Melbourne Genomics' Demonstration Project, the State Government of Victoria has invested a further A$25 million in a ground-breaking genomic sequencing project led by the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.
Researchers from the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance – a collaboration between The Royal Children's Hospital, The Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre, Austin Health and Monash Health – will pioneer a world-leading study using genomic sequencing technology to improve the control of superbugs in hospitals and better protect patients from infections.
Selected high-risk patients have been invited to participate in the project, which will take place over two years from 2017-19. Genomic sequencing will be made available to the patients alongside their usual care to assess the usefulness of genomics in medical practice.
Genomic sequencing speeds up the diagnosis of rare and complex genetic conditions, and can read the DNA from all 20,000 of a human's genes at the same time, enabling scientists to analyse all the genes relevant to a patient's condition in a single test.
Key findings from the 2014-15 Melbourne Genomics' Demonstration Project – led by the Alliance – revealed that patients who undergo genomic sequencing receive a faster, more accurate diagnosis and personalised care at a quarter of the cost of traditional practices.
Melbourne Genomics' Executive Director, Associate Professor Clara Gaff said the initial project was an important initiative that attracted strong international attention and has demonstrated how genomic sequencing can be delivered within healthcare.
Dr Gareth Goodier, chair of the Executive Committee for Melbourne Health Alliance believes that Victoria's health sector and vibrant culture of collaboration is "uniquely placed to find the best way to deliver genomic medicine".
Adopting the process that brings 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 Gaff.
The revolutionary genomic test will be used to better protect Victoria's hospitals and patients from antibiotic-resistant bacteria by building a real-time superbug tracking system across multiple hospitals.