Patients welcome investment in genome sequencing

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Rare Cancers Australia has welcomed the Turnbull government's commitment of $50 million for a national expansion of the Garvan’s Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program.

Health minister Greg Hunt announced the expansion yesterday, with the goal to treat more than 5,000 patients nationally.

"The program will be open for patients with rare cancers and advanced stage cancers, who have little or no treatment options left. These include patients with ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, renal cell cancer and sarcomas," said Mr Hunt.

"Each patient will have their cancer individually tested through what is known as genomic sequencing."

According to Richard Vines, CEO of Rare Cancers Australia, “This funding is a watershed moment for rare and less common cancer patients and their carers across the country.

"The funding announced today will mean that patients nationwide will be able to access Garvan’s MoST clinical trial in their home state and not be forced to travel across the country to be part of the trial. This gives hope and very practical assistance to thousands of rare and less common cancer patients.

“This will ultimately reduce the financial impact on patients associated with travelling interstate such as expensive flights and accommodation and will reduce the stress of being away from home, family and loved ones when they are already unwell. MoST is a beacon of hope for this often-neglected group of Australians,” said Mr Vines. 
“Patients living with a rare or less common cancer have it tough. Each year 52,000 Australians are diagnosed, and sadly 25,000 will die each year," he said. "But working with Professor David Thomas at the Garvan, we hope will help change those appalling statistics and save more lives. The impact of the MoST trial to date has been nothing short of remarkable. So, this funding announcement is something that government can be very proud of and I congratulate the Minister for his commitment to finding solutions for rare. 

“Today’s announcement represents not just hope, but a tangible lifeline for the thousands of Australians who have too often fallen through the cracks. It gives patients an option, where before, there were none.