Genomics is the study of genomes – the sequence of a person’s DNA. It can be used to create personalised healthcare treatments and to measure the risk of developing many diseases.
Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said the investment was an example of the Advance Queensland plan in action.
“It encourages collaboration between experts and industry, leading to practical outcomes that can improve the health of Queenslanders,” he said.
“This is our part of our Government’s plan – to provide for the knowledge-based jobs of the future.
“Not only will this grant encourage world-class research coming out of Queensland, but it also has the potential to make the health system considerably more efficient – something in which I as Health Minister am extremely interested.”
Mr Dick said a research consortium being co-ordinated by The University of Queensland and consisting of Berghofer QIMR, the CSIRO, the Queensland University of Technology and Queensland Health would receive $5 million a year for the next five years.
“This investment will place Queensland alongside world leaders in the use of genomics in healthcare,” he said.
“Queensland is already leading the way in many areas of genetics and genomics – for instance in tackling superbugs and antibiotic resistance.
“Given that many health conditions have a genetic component, it is clear that genomics will play a major role in the future of healthcare.”
Mr Dick said the funding would bring together teams of multidisciplinary researchers and clinicians.
“By working together they will discover the best way of using genomic technologies for the benefits of patients,” she said.
“It will establish our state as a leader in the use of genomics in healthcare.”
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the funding would develop a UQ-led Queensland genomics alliance.
"This alliance will bring together researcher organisations and health-care clinicians across Queensland, ensuring that research and resources are shared,” he said.
“It will help translate genomics research into practice in the healthcare industry.
“Research-intensive universities need to take much greater responsibility for ensuring their research delivers for patients and the community. This alliance is committed to this goal.
Professor Høj said funding would be used to increase engagement between diagnostic services and genomics research centres and create a clinically driven and patient-focussed program of research to ensure Queensland was part of a national diagnostic network.
“UQ has significant experience in this area, and our medical researchers have developed pipelines to fast-track genomic discoveries into tests and drugs which could benefit many people” Professor Høj said.
“For instance, through UQ’s leadership of the Australian contribution of the International Cancer Genome Consortium, UQ researcher Sean Grimmond discovered pancreatic cancer genes which determine outcome and inform treatment of this deadly disease.”