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GENOMIC CANCER MEDICINE PROGRAM

Genomic medicine is the future for all cancer treatment, but will have its greatest impact on rare, high-mortality cancers.

What is the genomic cancer medicine program?

The Genomic Cancer Medicine Program is dedicated to using genomics to improve the understanding, early detection, prevention and management of cancer. The program focuses on less common, high-mortality cancers, including ovarian, and pancreatic cancer, sarcomas and cancer metastasis.

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Key Statistics

Heredity

Heredity

Cancer can be caused by inherited genetic changes, or changes acquired over a lifetime. Having more inherited variants can result in earlier onset.

$4.5 billion

$4.5 billion

Cancer costs more than $4.5 billion in direct health system costs.

> 130,000

> 130,000

Over 130,000 Australians are diagnosed with cancer every year. About 52,000 will be diagnosed with a rare or less common cancer.

40%

40%

There are nearly 186 types of rare and less common cancers, which account for nearly 40% of cancer deaths.

A C G T

A C G T

DNA is a molecule made up of four basic building blocks, represented by the letters A, C, G, and T. Sections of DNA ‘read’ together and compose your genes.

What is genomic cancer medicine?

Genomic medicine refers to diagnosis and treatment based on a person’s entire DNA sequence. Variants in the DNA sequence determine the differences between individuals, and differences between types of cells (e.g. tumour cells and non-tumour cells). Genomic cancer medicine uses the latest genome sequencing to look at the genetics of the 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.

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What is genomic research?

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

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