Page 4652 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018

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MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Cody very much for the question. The national focus of medical and health research is centred on collaboration to accelerate discoveries in medicine and health through the efficient sharing of ideas and resources. The MOU signed between the ACT government, the ANU and the world-renowned Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre facilitates such collaboration with these outstanding, internationally recognised research organisations. The MOU provides an exciting vehicle for the ACT to further develop research, academic and clinical excellence; innovation around improving cancer patients’ experiences; and strong partnerships with other jurisdictions.

The ACT is fast becoming a key player in medical and health research, and this status will help to attract and retain highly regarded clinicians and scientists to the ACT and increase the potential for significant new grant funding and investment in infrastructure. The opportunity provided by the MOU gives confidence to investors that government can provide such support to the research sector and hope to those receiving treatment and care that new, effective treatments are being developed right here in Canberra.

The MOU opens up other opportunities to work with the University of Canberra, the University of Wollongong and other jurisdictions to implement a truly regional approach to medical and health research in the Canberra region.

MS CODY: Minister, how will the MOU enhance diagnostic genomics research and treatment in the ACT?

MS FITZHARRIS: The ACT, through a $7 million 2016 budget initiative, has established Canberra Clinical Genomics as a research, diagnosis and treatment platform for diseases associated with germline mutations, more commonly known as inherited diseases. The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has a pipeline in place for clinical-grade cancer genomics research.

The MOU provides the opportunity for the ACT to benefit in terms of the cancer genomics resources offered by Peter MacCallum to Canberra Cancer Services and the ANU, and the expertise, skills, facilities and technology that will be established here within the ACT Canberra Clinical Genomics Centre to support local targeted precision cancer medicine, research and treatment.

Canberra Clinical Genomics was established through an ACT budget initiative and draws on the infrastructure and bioinformatics expertise established at the ANU at the Centre for Personalised Immunology. The sequencing service established through Canberra Clinical Genomics has been implemented in parallel with a medical genomics clinic at the Canberra Hospital.

Canberra Clinical Genomics provides Canberrans with access to leading edge diagnostics and more than 150 patients have been sequenced, providing new diagnoses for patients and their families. Through the MOU with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, we are enhancing this research and treatment that will lead to longer life and better quality of life for cancer patients in the ACT, typically where standard treatments have not been successful.

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