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Peter Mac Patients to Benefit from $185 Million Investment to Fast-track Treatments for Rare and ‘Untreatable’ Cancers

Peter Mac is proud to be part of a private-public partnership announced yesterday, which will strengthen Australia's position at the forefront of the cancer treatment revolution.

The Precision Oncology Screening Platform Enabling Clinical Trials, or PrOSPeCT, will establish Australia as a medical manufacturing hub: building links from research through to the clinic, creating jobs and changing lives.

PrOSPeCT is a $185 million investment comprising $61.2 million from the Australian Government's Medical Products stream of the National Manufacturing Priority; contributions from four core partners: Roche Australia, NCI – the National Computational Infrastructure at the ANU, Children's Cancer Institute Australia and The Minderoo Foundation; and supported by Bayer Australia, Bioplatforms Australia, Elevation Oncology, George Clinical, Illumina Australia, Microba, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Praxis Australia, Quantium Health Sonic Healthcare, Southern Star Research, and Syntro.

Over the past decade, immunotherapy and other new treatments have transformed outcomes for thousands of Australians diagnosed with cancer. However, 46,000 Australians a year are diagnosed with cancers with limited treatment options.

PrOSPeCT will open up new treatment paths for people across Australia with difficult to treat cancers including ovarian, and pancreatic cancer, sarcomas and cancer metastasis.

"Genomic medicine allows us to look at the genetics of a person's cancer, rather than treating it based on location (e.g. breast, colon, skin). This allows us to understand inherited cancer risk and find more effective treatments for people with cancer," says Professor David Thomas, head of Genomic Cancer Medicine at the Garvan Institute and CEO of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre (Omico), the not-for-profit company leading the project.

"Through PrOSPeCT, we will fast-track the development, manufacturing and use of precision, personalised cancer treatments, changing lives, creating jobs and building Australia's sovereign capability in drug development," Professor Thomas says.

Peter Mac's Executive Director Cancer Research, Professor Ricky Johnstone, is also a member of the Omico board.

"This announcement is exciting because it's going to expand our ability to provide personalised cancer treatment to those patients who are in the most need," Professor Johnstone says.

"It will be able to provide the genomic profiling so that we understand at the genetic level what has happened with those patients and their cancers, and then importantly, link them with new clinical trials from across Australia."

Peter Mac will be involved in the genetic testing of patients thorough our Molecular Pathology service, and running the clinical trials and finding patients for those trials.

"This is a terrific outcome for everyone," Professor Johnstone says.

"For patients, there will be many more options available to them. And with more patients taking part in clinical trials, the trials have more power. It's the cancer medicine of the future."