By Kathryn Greiner, Luminesce Alliance Chair
A few years ago, patients presenting every year to our children’s hospitals in Australia with serious inherited conditions often resulted in no diagnosis or cure.
The international explosion in genomic medicine has offered new hope of identifying the genetic cause of these diseases and finding targeted therapies to treat them – an advance called precision medicine. But there needs to be an organised, systematic way of introducing this model of care into the health system.
Luminesce Alliance was funded in 2018 by the NSW Government to create a paediatric translational research hub delivering twenty-first-century precision medicine for the families of NSW.
We brought together NSW’s leading paediatric medical research institutes with our children’s hospitals network and universities to combine strengths and capabilities, creating a competitive advantage in paediatric research that was previously lacking in NSW.
With a strong translational focus, we have been able to fast-track discoveries in the laboratory into treatments for patients with rare diseases and cancer, sometimes in a matter of months.
Medicine that uses the power of genomics can be astonishingly successful. Rather than the incremental benefits we would normally expect from medicine, these new therapies have the potential to completely cure children of their condition.
The strength of Luminesce Alliance is in the collaborations it nurtures – collaborations between fiercely competitive research institutes and clinical campuses, between different research teams, between clinicians and scientists, and between people from a wide range of disciplines. The way these teams are now working together is, perhaps, our greatest achievement.
NSW is now at the international vanguard of paediatric precision medicine – but there is still so much more we could do. We want to develop new treatments in NSW for our children and families, and export them to the world. Through nurturing paediatric research, our modelling shows we can attract even more investment to NSW, create jobs, and generate government cost-savings through the rapid diagnosis and treatment of childhood disease.
The discoveries being made will have impacts far beyond child health. Improving diagnosis and treatment of children will support families and communities, boost the economy through saving on health expenditure in later life, and lead to new understandings that will be applied to many common adult diseases in future.
Learn more about our research projects