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Genomic medicine is the future for all cancer treatment, but will have its greatest impact for ‘rare’, high-mortality cancers.
About the genomic cancer medicine program

From Genetics to Genomic Medicine

  • DNA
    A gene is a section of DNA that is transferred from a parent to a child and determines some characteristic of that child, such as eye colour or height.
  • Heredity
    The genome is the complete set of genetic information we inherit from our parents.
  • A C G T
    DNA is a molecule that is made up of four basic building blocks represented by the letters A, C, G, and T. Sections DNA letters ‘read’ together, make up genes.
  • > $1 billion
    The first human genome sequences took years and cost more than $1 billion to produce. Now a person’s genome can be sequenced in days for a tiny fraction of the cost.
  • 6 billion
    A human genome contains around 6 billion of these DNA blocks.

What is genomic medicine?

Genomic medicine is patient diagnosis and treatment based on information about a person’s entire DNA sequence. Variants in the DNA sequence determine the differences between us as individuals, and differences between types of cells (eg tumour cells and non-tumour cells). Researchers use powerful computers to find harmful variants that can determine what kinds of disease we might have – and what type of drugs and dosages might work best for each person, as well as for monitoring and prevention. This is also called personalised or precision medicine.

What is genomic research?

Genomic research has given us a new understanding of the interplay within the genes in our whole genetic landscape – and the relationship of our genome to how we live our lives. While genetics focuses on specific genes, genomic research uses genome sequencing to study genes and other information encoded in an individual’s genome. It looks at the structure of the whole genome, including the DNA sequence.

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