The document offers a new framework to guide the development and application of ‘omics’-based tests, focusing on genomic testing. ‘Omics’ is a general term that covers transcriptomics, metabolomics, epigenomics and proteomics.
NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson commented on the timeliness and necessity of this new guide.
‘Omics’-based technologies have the capacity to deliver more effective and better targeted treatments and improve screening for genetic disorders,’ Professor Anderson said.
‘Over the last six years, we have seen the cost of sequencing the human genome go from around $10 million to a few thousand dollars, spawning the commercialisation of genetic testing,’ he said.
‘This is an area that is continuing to evolve and grow, with other ‘omics’-based testing also on the rise. It is timely for Australia to agree to adopt principles to protect interests of consumers and to ensure research integrity.
‘The promise is great, but it is important to introduce these technologies into health care in an orderly, evidence-based, ethical manner.’
The principles cover the passage of ‘omics’-based discoveries from the research setting through to clinical care. The document was developed by the NHMRC’s Human Genetics Advisory Committee in consultation with stakeholders including researchers, clinicians, bioinformaticians, ethicists and consumers.
Public consultation on Principles for the translation of ‘omics’-based tests from discovery to health care is now open and will close on 16 September.