The Melbourne Genomics Cancer Statewide project will test different ways of providing world-class genomic care in regional and metropolitan hospitals.
It ultimately means that more Victorians can access precision treatment for cancer, closer to home.
This project is led by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Genomics and cancer care
Genomics can inform the diagnosis and treatment of some types of cancer.
Complex genomic profiling is a test that searches for hundreds of variants within a cancer at the same time. This can help identify complex cancers and determine the right kind of treatment.
The test can be performed on a sample of DNA from the cancer through a biopsy, or by analysing small particles of cancer DNA present in a patient’s blood.
What we’ve done
The Melbourne Genomics Advanced Solid Cancers Clinical Project (2016-2020) demonstrated how genomic sequencing could inform the diagnosis and treatment of patients with advanced solid cancers.
In the study, 58% of cancer patients who had a genomic test got an informative result, which would not have been detected through usual care.
Of those patients, 42% had a change in care because of their genomic result.
Genomics is a complex field and still new to many oncologists.
The next step is to determine the best ways for oncologists to access genomic expertise when their patients need it.
What we’re doing now
The Cancer Statewide project road-tests three different models of care in rural and metropolitan hospitals. This will enable hospitals to choose a model that’s right for them, and increase the use of genomics in cancer treatment across Victoria.
- Independent model: Genomic testing will be offered and organised by on-site oncologists. This means that regional patients may need to travel to larger hospitals to undergo genomic testing.
- Centralised model with telehealth: Patients will be referred from their local hospital to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, but will not have to travel. Telehealth will be used to discuss genomic testing and the results of the test.
- Local superuser model: Oncologists at each site will be supported by a local genomic expert, who will have access to ongoing genomics education and expertise via the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Each model will be tested at a metropolitan and regional hospital. Six hospitals are participating: Ballarat Cancer Centre, Monash Health, Cabrini Hospital, Latrobe Regional Hospital, The Northern Hospital and Goulburn Valley Health.
What we learn can help other Victorian hospitals to choose the model of genomic care that’s right for them. This will help make genomic testing more widely available in oncology.
Meet the team
The Cancer Statewide project is led by Dr Kortnye Smith and A/Prof Jayesh Desai of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The project team includes Dr Laura Forrest, Prof Stephen Fox, Dr Lavinia Tan of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Dr Natalie Taylor of the University of NSW and Michelle Tew of the University of Melbourne.
The Cancer Statewide project is funded by the Victorian Government and the members of the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance.