New funding for Perth-based phenome centre

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced $10 million in funding for the Perth-based Australian National Phenome Centre at Murdoch University for research into DNA and personalised medicine.

Mr Hunt said precision and personalised medicine could transform healthcare. 

A person’s phenome is a snapshot of their unique biology that results from complex interactions between their DNA and their environment, which includes factors relating to diet, lifestyle and exposure to pollutants. 

Analysing these biological “fingerprints” helps researchers better understand the underlying causes of disease and ultimately to develop personalised therapies and treatments.

Researchers at the Australian National Phenome Centre plan to map the phenomes of large sections of the population. This will provide a window into environmental and social factors influencing current health trends and future risks.

Researchers will have a particular focus on the detection, treatment and prevention of obesity, autism, and type 2 diabetes among children and the Australian Indigenous population.

The Australian National Phenome Centre is Australia’s first dedicated metabolic phenotyping laboratory and a hub within an international network of compatible centres. 

The Centre brings together all five Western Australian universities and leading health and medical research institutes: the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, University of Notre Dame Australia and Edith Cowan University.

This funding comes from the federal government's $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.