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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Nation’s largest cancer genomics initiative reaches major milestone

Health Industry Hub | June 6, 2024 |

Pharma News: The nation’s largest cancer genomics initiative, PrOSPeCT (Precision Oncology Screening Platform Enabling Clinical Trials), has marked a significant milestone this month, with over 5,000 Australians diagnosed with hard-to-treat cancers receiving referrals for free comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) of their condition.

Data from these 5,000 referrals reveals a promising trend: three out of four (75%) individuals with difficult-to-treat cancers have actionable genetic biomarkers within their tumours. This discovery opens doors to personalised treatments, potentially extending lives and exploring options previously uncharted.

The initiative has garnered widespread support from the medical community, with over 750 clinicians across Australia actively referring patients to PrOSPeCT.

Key findings from the collected data underscore the initiative’s nationwide impact, including over a third (38%) originating from rural and regional areas and that PrOSPeCT accommodates a broad spectrum of cancer types, including breast, lung, colorectal, prostate, melanoma, as well as rare and less common cancers.

The process of comprehensive genomic profiling, from patient consent to result assessment by Omico and delivery of a comprehensive report with treatment recommendations, averages between 5 to 8 weeks.

“We are immensely proud of reaching this milestone and commend the oncology community for embracing PrOSPeCT,” said Professor David Thomas, Chief Science and Strategy Officer at Omico and Director of the Centre of Molecular Oncology, UNSW. “Access to genomic insights has the potential to significantly enhance life expectancy for Australians grappling with challenging cancer diagnoses.”

PrOSPeCT’s success is fueled by robust public and private partnerships, with total funding amounting to $185 million. This includes substantial contributions from the Australian Federal Government, the NSW Government, and a collaborative effort between Omico, the National Computational Infrastructure at Australian National University, Children’s Cancer Institute, and Roche Australia.

A permanent dent in a big problem: Omico’s CEO Professor Thomas and Oncologist A/Professor Underhill

Ian Black, CEO of Omico and ex-Roche, said “Central to the initiative is linking to precision oncology trials in Australia and expanding access for a high needs community to new targeted therapies provided by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. To date, over 50 clinical trials have been supported by PrOSPeCT which is an incredible outcome, and we want to continue this.”

A retrospective analysis of data from Omico’s previous precision oncology program, MoST (Molecular Screening and Therapeutics Study), underscores the importance of targeted therapies. More than a third of patients enrolled in MoST exhibited biomarkers with strong clinical evidence for therapeutic benefit, resulting in a doubling of median survival time for those receiving matched therapies.

Beyond medical breakthroughs, the initiative has created 164 direct highly skilled jobs have been created in the medical and science sectors and an estimated 820 indirect jobs have been generated across various fields. Additionally, it has attracted foreign investment in local oncology clinical trials of approximately $138 million.

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