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06 Apr 2022

Using Genomic Data for Personalised Care

  • VCCC Alliance
  • Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance

As a clinician or researcher tackling cancer, how much do you know about genome sequencing methodology, interpreting molecular reports, the role of targeted panels, and how you might dig deeper to find treatment options for people undergoing treatment for cancer?

VCCC Alliance with Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance has developed a new online, part-time course to support professionals in the oncology sector seeking to extend their understanding of genomic data and its application in developing effective precision treatment strategies for people undergoing treatment for cancer.

Enrolments are open for the Monday 6 June commencement, delivered as a Melbourne MicroCert through the University of Melbourne.

Complex clinical implications

Genome sequencing is increasingly being used to guide clinical decision-making. The idea of personalised care is that patients receive the right therapy at the right time. With additional genomic data changing the way some forms of the disease are managed, there is an increasingly urgent requirement for all members of multidisciplinary teams to grasp the potentially complex clinical implications that come with applying personalised care.

The new Using Genomic Data for Personalised Care course provides the opportunity to review contemporary case studies and be introduced to the latest advances in genomic technologies and clinical applications.

Every cancer is a rare cancer

In a 2020 Nature article, Emile Voest, an oncologist and medical director of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, said, “What you now see is that every cancer is a rare cancer.”

Voest maintains that ten years ago lung cancer was classified as either small cell or non-small cell. “It’s now described by the presence or absence of nearly 30 genetic mutations,” he says.

Piers Blombery, haematologist at Peter Mac says, “Identifying cancer-causing mutations can be essential to diagnosis, particularly when it comes to haematological cancers.

“Diagnosis of these ‘liquid’ tumours is usually informed, and sometimes explicitly decided, by genetic abnormalities. For example, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is diagnosed by the presence of a mutated gene called BCR-ABL, which is created by the transfer of genetic material from one chromosome to another. Most people with CML also have an unusually short chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome, the presence of which is also key to diagnosis.” 

Who are the program coordinators?

Expertise for this course is drawn from right across the VCCC Alliance and Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance. Subject Coordinators are Dr Kortnye Smith and Dr Richard Rebello.

Dr Kortnye Smith is a medical oncologist and researcher at Peter Mac and Eastern Health.  After medical oncology training, Dr Smith undertook a two-year fellowship at Peter Mac and the Melbourne Genomic Health Alliance where she investigated pathways for the integration of complex genomic sequencing into cancer therapy. 

ID photo

Dr Richard Rebello is a postdoctoral researcher in the Rare Disease Oncogenomics group and is the project manager for the SUPER-NEXT study for Cancer of Unknown Primary at the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research. Dr Rebello completed his PhD in 2017 at Monash University and Peter Mac before postdoctoral training at the CRUK Manchester Institute in the United Kingdom where he studied rare variant prostate cancer biology. 

richard rebello

Dr Rebello says, “This MicroCert gives unprecedented access to learn from the pioneers in genomic and precision medicine. It also offers a pathway – otherwise known as advanced standing – into the Master of Cancer Sciences.”

Discounts for VCCC Alliance member organisations

If you work in one of the VCCC Alliance member organisations, you may be eligible for a discount

5 per cent for a group of 3+ people
10 per cent for VCCC Alliance member organisation employees
25 per cent for University of Melbourne staff
30 per cent for University of Melbourne alumni

The new six-week program to run from 6 June to 17 July 2022 has a required commitment of around 4-6 hours of learning a week so that oncology specialists in research and clinical settings can rapidly gain in-demand skills alongside their current work or study schedules.

Enrolments are now open until 23 May. Don't miss out. 

Read more and enrol via University of Melbourne – Melbourne MicroCerts.

For more information contact  Alicia Mew, VCCC Alliance E-learning Developer.  

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