Genomics researchers advance Queensland health care
The new Queensland Genomics Health Alliance has hit a critical milestone, with the first nine of its funded research projects revealed.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said The University of Queensland-based QGHA would address health threats including melanoma, lung cancer, maturity-onset diabetes and infectious diseases.
“This is the first of three funding rounds of the Palaszczuk Government’s $25 million initiative that will see the Queensland Genomics Health Alliance (QGHA) build on our capacity for genomics testing and treatment within the Queensland health system,” Mr Dick said.
QGHA’s research implementation projects will focus on two core themes: clinical demonstration projects and capability building areas which will help to establish capacity for genomics testing and treatment within Queensland’s health system.
Professor H. Peter Soyer, The University of Queensland, is the Chief Investigator for one of the four demonstration projects.
Recent advances in genomics have the potential to change the practice of melanoma detection and treatment.
“Our research aims to arm clinicians with the knowledge about their patients’ genetic risks so that they will be able to monitor high risk patients closely for changing naevi and educate patients and their families about their melanoma risk and importance of skin self-examination.” Professor Soyer said.
Melanoma, lung cancer, infectious diseases and maturity-onset diabetes of the young were selected as the funding round’s clinical projects to show genomics can provide significant benefit to the diagnosis and management of patients with specific diseases or conditions.
Five further projects are being funded to build the capability of Queensland’s health services to implement genomics in Queensland.
The projects will establish infrastructure and capacity in information management, genomic testing innovation, workforce development, ethics, legal and social implications, and evaluate the application of clinical genomics in the Queensland health system.
Associate Professor Louisa Gordon, QIMR Berghofer, was also successful in receiving funding for the capability-building work stream project “Evaluation of Clinical Genomics Projects in Action in Queensland”.
“The workforce development project aims to build genomics knowledge and skills in current and future clinicians by developing teaching materials for genomic scientists and clinicians, including establishing Australasia’s first postgraduate program in Diagnostic Genomics,” Mr Dick said.
The genome is the complete set of genetic information located in each cell of every living thing, and genomics is the science that aims understand the genome.
Executive Director of QGHA David Bunker said the nine projects would drive the integration of genomics into everyday healthcare in Queensland.
“Genomics has the capacity to transform the delivery of health services globally with faster diagnosis, allowing informed healthcare decisions, and more cost effective treatments,” Mr Bunker said.
QGHA aims to bring genomics into everyday healthcare in Queensland and is a collaboration involving Queensland-based universities and research organisations, Queensland hospitals and health services, private health providers, and associated health organisations throughout Queensland.
Visit www.qgha.org for more information about the QGHA.
Media: Katrina Cutler, Queensland Genomics Health Alliance, 0421 007 745; Melissa Kerr, firstname.lastname@example.org