26 October 2016
The St Vincent’s Clinical Genomics Unit, which will provide genomic testing and genetic counselling to individuals with a wide variety of diseases, has today been opened by the Hon. Pru Goward MP, NSW Minister for Medical Research. The Unit has been established by St Vincent’s Hospital (Sydney) with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
A patient-facing facility, the Clinical Genomics Unit provides an important interface between the clinic and the laboratory for genetic and genomic testing. Genomic tests capture all, or large sections of, a patient’s DNA sequence to help clinicians search for changes or variants that are related to genetic conditions.
Doctors from a variety of specialist units throughout the St Vincent’s Campus will be able to refer patients to the clinic for consultation with a geneticist and genetic counsellor. Where appropriate, patients will then undergo genomic testing. The findings will be interpreted by a multidisciplinary group of clinicians and healthcare professionals on the Campus to enhance patient care.
The Unit will provide access to diverse genetic and genomic tests, including those offered by Genome.One, a wholly owned subsidiary of Garvan that employs whole genome sequencing and interpretation in diagnosing the genetic basis of disease. Genome.One is housed in The Kinghorn Cancer Centre on the St Vincent’s Campus, so patients of the Clinical Genomics Unit will have access to genetic counselling, clinical consultations and genomic testing on the same campus.
Professor Jerry Greenfield (who heads the Department of Endocrinology at St Vincent’s and Garvan’s Clinical Diabetes, Appetite and Metabolism Laboratory) founded the Clinical Genomics Unit, and says the Unit will enable the integration of genomic testing into clinical practice across the St Vincent’s Campus.
“The Unit will allow clinicians to access genomic information about each patient that undergoes genomic testing – data that has the potential to shine new light on their condition, enabling far more informed diagnoses and treatments,” Prof Greenfield says.
“In some cases, genomic information might enable us to revise a patient’s diagnosis – and in most cases, we will be more enlightened about the patient’s individual disease, helping us to provide more precise and tailored treatment.
“We’re delighted to be bringing together genomic testing and genetic counselling services on the St Vincent’s campus. This will further collaborations across the campus, and improve our ability to offer patients an exceptionally high standard of personalised care.”
“Today is a very significant day for the St Vincent’s Campus,” says A/Prof Anthony Schembri, CEO of St Vincent’s Hospital.
“What we are witnessing [in clinical genomics] are diagnostic and prognostic breakthroughs on a scale that no-one would have anticipated only a decade ago, being rapidly applied to the patient to provide far more precise treatment.”
“This will be the portal to the future of medicine,” said Professor John Mattick, Executive Director of Garvan.