Genomic Sequencing Helping Victorians Get The Care They Need

25 July 2018

A world-leading DNA sequencing program funded by the Andrews Labor Government has now been accessed by 2,000 Victorians with a rare or undiagnosed illness.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today met Ollie, one of 488 Victorian children who have been given the chance to find the cause of their genetic illness or to access better treatments thanks to genomic sequencing.

Ollie was only hours old when he showed signs of a painful skin condition that left hospital staff baffled. He was signed up to a ground-breaking genomic sequencing program that analysed his DNA in a bid to find a cause for his skin condition.

Just before Ollie turned one, he was diagnosed with epidermolytic hyperkeratosis – a rare genetic skin condition which affects one in 250,000 children.

Genomic sequencing has helped doctors diagnose Ollie’s condition faster to ensure he gets the best medical care he needs. Ollie’s parents have also undergone tests to determine whether they are carriers of the gene.

The Labor Government’s $33.3 million investment in genomic sequencing make breakthroughs like these possible.

Victoria was the first state to invest in the cutting-edge testing, giving more patients access to the answers they desperately need – sooner, and without the costs.

The genomics program is ensuring Victorians with rare and undiagnosed conditions are treated and diagnosed faster, no matter their postcode. Some 35 per cent of participants in the program are from rural or regional Victoria.

Cutting-edge programs like these that change the lives of Victorians are possible because the Labor Government invests in world-class health services – but they’d be at risk of being axed by the Liberals because they cut health funding whenever they can.

The Liberals’ plans for health are cuts, closures and privatisations. They cut a billion dollars from health when they were last in office, and they’ll do it again if they get the chance.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“These tests help our sickest patients with rare conditions get diagnosed faster so they can get back home sooner, and hopefully, lead happy and healthy lives.”

“This milestone isn’t just a number on a page – it demonstrates this program is giving doctors and researchers the tools they need to make life-changing discoveries that otherwise may never have been made.”

“Ollie’s journey shows what a world of difference genomic sequencing can make. We're so proud to be helping our valued doctors and researchers improve the lives of sick Victorians for the better."

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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