Faster Diagnosis And Treatment For Victorians With Rare Illnesses

More Victorians will be diagnosed sooner and access medical treatment earlier, thanks to funding in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget.

The Andrews Labor Government has provided $25 million to develop a state-wide genomic sequencing program, which will speed up the diagnosis and treatment of rare conditions and inherited diseases.

This includes conditions such as epilepsy, leukaemia, cancers, childhood diseases and inherited neuropathies (disorders affecting the peripheral nervous system).

The funding for the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance will see up to 2500 children and adults receive early diagnoses of their conditions, enabling them to receive treatment earlier and improve their health outcomes.

It will also mean Victorians with hereditary diseases will have greater understanding about how their genetic condition might impact them and their families in the future.

The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance – made up of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, CSIRO and Australian Genome Research Facility – will see world-class medical research institutes, teaching hospitals and universities work together to develop this new gene sequencing capability.

Key learnings from the Alliance will also be applied across the health system.

The Labor Government is investing in medical research to grow Victoria’s pre-eminence as a hub for world-class research.

The Government is also investing to plan and develop a National Centre for Proton Beam Therapy at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Proton beam therapy is one of the most cutting edge treatments available in the fight against cancer, however there are currently no proton beam therapy facilities in Australia or South East Asia.

The National Centre for Proton Beam Therapy will undertake both clinical treatment and world-class research, bringing together experts from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne.

The Government is also providing funding to support and attract clinical trials to Victoria.

These important investments in medical research are part of the Andrews Labor Government’s massive investment in health in the Budget; an extra $1.38 billion for hospitals, ambulances and health programs to ensure Victorians can access the care and treatment they need in a timely way and closer to home.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We are helping families with genetic illnesses get the diagnoses they need, so they can get the treatment they need, sooner.”

“Often, it’s the ‘not knowing’ that’s the hardest part. This funding will help diagnose 2500 individuals with rare conditions every year – it’s such an important investment and we’re proud to be delivering it.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“Genomics is the new frontier of medicine. It opens the door to better prediction of future health risks, better prevention targeting, and earlier diagnosis of disease.”

“Investment in medical research is vital so we can diagnose and treat diseases more quickly and more effectively – and hopefully find cures.”

Quotes attributable to the Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, Frank McGuire

“Victoria is home to some of the world’s best clinicians, scientists and researchers, and we are supporting their work through our investment in medical research.”