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Garvan Institute's Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program Receives A$50M in Government Funding

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program has won A$50 million ($36.6 million) in funding from the Australian government, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research said yesterday.

The program, developed at the Garvan Institute, matches patients with rare and uncommon cancers to therapies based on their genome information. Originally funded with A$7 million from the New South Wales government, the program has served more than 1,000 patients since 2016.

With the new five-year funding, patients across Australia with rare or less common cancers will be able to access the program through a network of eight cancer centers, led by the Garvan Institute, in every state and territory of Australia.

Specifically, the program will be made available at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Royal Hobart Hospital.

"The expansion of this program enables rare cancer patients to access this critical trial closer to home, giving hope to these individuals who have exhausted all other options," David Thomas, head of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program and director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Cancer Division Head at the Garvan Institute, said in a statement. "Further, their participation will see a radical shift in our understanding of rare and uncommon cancers to help the patients of tomorrow."

The program, through its Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) clinical trials, matches cancer patients with targeted treatments after comparing their tumor and germline genomes. Patients without a targetable driver of their cancer are offered immunotherapies, and an additional trial develops surveillance protocols for individuals with a genetic risk of cancer.