Professor David Thomas
Media Release: 17 March 2022
Over the past decade, immunotherapy and other new treatments have transformed outcomes for thousands of Australians diagnosed with cancer. However, 46,000 Australians a year are diagnosed with cancers with limited treatment options.
Project PrOSPeCT will open up new treatment paths for people across Australia with difficult to treat cancers including ovarian, and pancreatic cancer, sarcomas and cancer metastasis.
“Genomic medicine allows us to look at the genetics of a person’s cancer, rather than treating it based on location (e.g. breast, colon, skin). This allows us to understand inherited cancer risk and find more effective treatments for people with cancer,” says Professor David Thomas, head of Genomic Cancer Medicine at the Garvan Institute and CEO of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre (Omico), the not-for-profit company leading the project.
“Through PrOSPeCT, we will fast-track the development, manufacturing and use of precision, personalised cancer treatments, changing lives, creating jobs and building Australia’s sovereign capability in drug development,” Professor Thomas says.
Today’s announcement is underpinned by a decade of research at the Garvan into genomic medicine and cancer,” says Professor Chris Goodnow, Executive Director of the Garvan Institute.
“PrOSPeCT will help future proof the Australian health care system and develop a national ecosystem to take research and development and data systems forward, making Australia globally competitive,” he says.
PrOSPeCT is a $185 million investment comprising:
- $61.2 million from the Australian Government’s Medical Products stream of the National Manufacturing Priority
- contributions from four core partners:
- Roche Australia
- NCI – the National Computational Infrastructure at ANU
- Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCI)
- The Minderoo Foundation
- supported by Bayer Australia, Bioplatforms Australia, Elevation Oncology, George Clinical, Illumina Australia, Microba, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Praxis Australia, Quantium Health Sonic Healthcare, Southern Star Research, and Syntro.
PrOSPeCT is led by Omico, the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre which is a network of Australia’s leading cancer research institutions and hospitals that grew out of the Molecular Screening & Therapeutics (MoST) Study at the Garvan Institute.
“Minderoo Foundation, through our Strategic Impact Fund, is delighted to invest in this ground-breaking industry-linked program, which is so well aligned with our Collaborate Against Cancer initiative. We expect PrOSPeCT to change Australia’s approach to clinical trials and personalised medicine and further advance the work already underway to unlock healthcare data and accelerate research for the benefit of patients,” says Minderoo CEO, Andrew Hagger.
“Roche is proud to be a foundational partner for PrOSPeCT. This is a progressive initiative that will enable broader access to comprehensive genomic profiling for cancer patients and support local access to clinical trials,” says Stuart Knight, Roche Products General Manager.
“We are pleased to see collaboration across multiple levels of healthcare to drive the acceleration of a more personalised approach to better meet the needs of an individual patient at a faster pace,” he says.
“This project will help future proof our health care, specifically for cancer treatment. Combining research and development, clinical trial networks and the manufacture of cancer drugs locally offers early access to potentially life changing treatments to Australian patients,” says Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor.
“These projects will also create highly-skilled jobs in the medical sector while reducing our reliance on overseas suppliers of vital medications,” he says.
“Australia has a tremendous reputation for our medical research and this project will help us consolidate patient data to translate those breakthroughs into genomic cancer medicines right here at home,” says Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt.
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