About the genomic cancer medicine program


Garvan is delighted to announce that the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, an innovative clinical trials program for people with rare and uncommon cancers, will receive $50 million in Australian Government funding over five years to expand nationally.

This funding will enable individuals based outside of New South Wales to access the potentially lifesaving clinical trials in their home state, by early 2019. 

  • If you're interested in the Program’s clinical trials in NSW, please email: gcmp@garvan.org.au  
  • For more information about the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program in other states, please email: agcmp@garvan.org.au
Prof David Thomas
Prof David Thomas

About genomic medicine

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

Professor David Thomas is an oncologist and Head of Cancer Research at Garvan and Director of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre (a joint facility of Garvan and St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney).

‘There is an unmet clinical need in the population with high-mortality and advanced cancers, for whom few therapeutic options exist and who have historically been neglected by the drug development process.

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More about rare cancers

Cancer is usually considered a disease of older people, with mortality rates increasing with age for most cancers. One of the key characteristics of rarer cancers, however, is that these cancers place a great burden on children and young families. In every age group (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and even children) ‘rare’, high-mortality cancers are the most common cause of disease-related death in Australia.

Reasons for the high mortality rates include:

  • difficulty in diagnosis (as they are seen less often)
  • standard treatments are often less effective
  • there is limited access to new therapies.


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Genomic cancer medicine explained


Genomic medicine uses genome sequencing to help diagnose illness and provide better, more personalised treatment.

Genomic information can predict how a person’s cancer will respond to surgery or drug therapy, guiding the use of existing treatments, or suggesting more targeted treatments. This can spare some patients costly and complex procedures and can result in better outcomes.

Genomic information also help us understand the genetic drivers that give a person an increased risk of developing cancer, leading to personalised monitoring and more effective early detection.

The Genomic Cancer Medicine Program was established as part of a $24 million, four-year investment by the NSW State Government in using genetic technologies to improve patient outcomes.