National collaboration to increase local cancer patients’ access to affordable genetic testing

Cancer patients treated in Victoria will benefit from more affordable access to molecular tumour profiling, following a new collaboration between the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre (AGCMC) and the MPCCC’s Precision Oncology Program.

The AGCMC, a $50million federally funded national initiative led by Professor David Thomas at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, is host to the Cancer Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) study. This program is targeted at patients with advanced-stage, metastatic and rare solid cancers of any histological type, including Cancers of Unknown Primary (CUP).

“The options for these patients, who are often undertaking their last lines of routinely available therapy, are usually quite limited,” observed Professor Mark Shackleton, Clinical Lead of the MPCCC Precision Oncology Program, and Professor Director of Oncology at Alfred Health and Monash University.

“Participating in the MoST program could identify new therapeutic options currently being trialled to extend the length and improve the quality of these patients lives,” Prof Shackleton said.

Through the MPCCC, clinicians will be able to refer eligible patients into the MoST program for gene sequencing using ‘gold standard’ pan-cancer gene panels.  Instead of paying current market prices of well over $1000, referral via the MPCCC’s Precision Oncology Team will cost patients between $500 – $700, making such testing a much more accessible option. Results will be interpreted and reviewed by experts via a Molecular Tumour Board, treatment recommendations made, and information summarised in a report sent to the relevant referring clinician.

The MPCCC’s Precision Oncology Program will act as a regional referral ‘hub’, particularly but not exclusively serving Monash University-affiliate clinicians and hospitals, co-ordinating referrals, patient samples, pathology and clinical reports between participates and the central MoST program team in Sydney.

“MPCCC’s collaboration with AGCMC will increase the volume of eligible patients for the MoST program, enhancing our research and maximising the impact of this program on patients,” Professor David Thomas said. Professor Thomas discussed the exciting potential of genomic sequencing at an MPCCC Precision Oncology Seminar in early 2019.

“It is an exhilarating time for the MPCCC’s Precision Oncology Program, which will continue to grow over the next twelve months. Our partnership with the AGCMC has opened up new possibilities for our patients and our local oncologists,” said Ms Vikki Marshall, the MPCCC Precision Oncology Program Manager.

A chief objective of the MPCCC Precision Oncology Program is to build workforce competencies in precision medicine. The MPCCC-AGCMC collaboration will help oncologists gain confidence in implementing the latest genomic technologies into their practice via improved access to high quality sequencing and recommendations that can be readily passed on to patients.

The MPCCC Precision Oncology Program is funded by the Victorian Government. For more information, visit our Precision Oncology Program page or contact vikki.marshall@monash.edu.

2020-01-30T10:52:46+00:00 January 30th, 2020|