$65 million to unlock potential of personalised medicine through genomics

The Liberal Government will provide over $65 million in competitive research grants to Australia’s best and brightest researchers to unlock the power of personalised medicine through genomics and potentially find cures for cancer, children’s illnesses and diseases with low survival rates.

Genomics means that each patient will have their particular disease individually tested through what is known as genomic sequencing.

This new type of medical treatment works by looking deep into each patient’s cells, analysing their DNA to work out how to target and destroy the cancer or disease.

The result is a tailored treatment based on the individual and it means we can find out what medicine might work for a particular disease and then get it to the patient.

These grants are the first competitive call for applications under our Government’s $500 million Genomics Health Futures Mission, which was announced at last year’s Budget.

This Mission will help save and transform the lives of more than 200,000 Australians through research into better testing, diagnosis and treatment.

Researchers will be able to apply for grants for a range of projects to develop the research evidence for implementing genomics knowledge and technology delivering better targeted treatments and diagnostic methods, avoiding unnecessary health costs and improving patient care and outcomes.

Funding will be available over three years from 2019–20 to 2021–22 for research into:

    • Cancers (including lung cancer and mesothelioma) and diseases with high mortality and low survivability ($15 million);
    • Paediatric acute care genomic research for critically ill children ($15 million); and
    • Ethical, legal and social issues related to genomics in health care ($3.7 million).

Funding will be available over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23 for flagships for pathogen genomics, including infectious respiratory diseases ($32 million).

The grants will also encourage collaboration and multidisciplinary teams to work together to answer complex genomics research questions.

This funding further demonstrates the Government’s commitment to health and medical research.

The Genomics Health Futures Mission is the centrepiece of the Government’s $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan and is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The Mission Steering Committee has delivered an Operational Plan to Government outlining a structure and roadmap for the Genomics Mission.

The Steering Committee will continue to guide the Mission’s work under the leadership of Professor Ian Frazer AC. It will now focus on implementation and will be strengthened with additional expertise in areas such as cancer genomics and pathogenomics.

To support the Expert Advisory Committee, a new genomics scientific sub-committee will be established and led by Professor Kathryn North AC.

The Government will also create a National Health and Medical Research Office to oversee the Genomics and other Missions under the MRFF.

The MRFF, a $20 billion endowment fund, is going from strength to strength – backing our world-class researchers, addressing barriers to sector growth, enhancing academic and industry collaboration and improving access to new and emerging technologies, drugs, devices and treatments for Australians.

It is enabling good science to be turned into life-changing health improvements and commercially feasible products.

Our Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued record investment into vital essential services including medical research, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.

The Projects Grant opportunity will open on 28 March 2019 and the Flagships: Pathogen Genomics Grants opportunity will open on 14 May 2019. The Guidelines are available on the GrantConnect website.

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