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Australia Unveils Childhood Cancer Genomics Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today unveiled the Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative, a multi-year program that will leverage genomics to develop personalized therapeutic strategies for currently untreatable pediatric cancers.

"Using the science and the technology of the 21st century — genomics — to understand each and every cancer in all of its particularity, in all of its special diversity, to find its fatal flaw … will enable … scientists and doctors and clinicians to target those cancers with a treatment that is so specific it takes out the cancer but does not have the very toxic effects," Turnbull said. "The goal is to have zero childhood cancer.

The initiative will be funded with a A$20 million ($14.5 million) government investment, and will be established at the Children's Cancer Institute and the Sydney Children's Hospital with a network of clinical and research collaborators in major Australian cities to follow.

It is expected to improve genomic sequencing in the country and provide faster, cheaper, and more accurate diagnoses to guide the use of appropriate clinical interventions.

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