Our researchers are discovering new strategies that use genomic and proteomic information to match a person with the best treatment for their individual disease.
Our personalised medicine researchers aim to identify the most appropriate treatments for individual patients by studying complex biological systems.
Aspects of their research include:
The Ian Potter Centre for Genomics and Personalised Medicine is a partnership between the WEHI and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. The centre is Australia’s first research centre devoted to matching disease treatments to a person’s genetic makeup.
Every human is unique, and we often differ in how we develop diseases and respond to treatments.
Personalised medicine aims to tailor treatments to achieve the best outcome for individual patients, rather than treating patients with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Personalised medicine is already a part of our healthcare. When a doctor uses family history or past medical events and results to make treatment decisions, it is a type of personalised medicine.
The future of personalised medicine will increasingly involve genomics, the study of information from a patient’s entire genetic sequence. DNA sequencing is becoming faster and more sophisticated. This makes it easier to determine the best treatment based on genetics of the disease and the individual.
Some of the most advanced examples of personalised medicine have been made in improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Cancer develops when cells accumulate DNA changes (‘genetic mutations’) that make them grow in an uncontrolled manner. As cancers progress they undergo further genetic changes that enhance their spread (metastasis) or make them resistant to anti-cancer treatments.
Personalised medicine, including genetic sequencing of cancer samples, helps clinicians to match a patient with the appropriate treatment.
New medications called targeted therapies are designed to counteract cancer-causing molecules. For example, patients with breast cancers that have abnormally high amounts of a protein called HER2 can be successfully treated with a medication that blocks HER2.
It is hoped that developments made in personalising cancer treatment could also be translated to other complex conditions.