Researchers developing tools to predict risk of fatal illness

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A team of Perth researchers is developing precision DNA tests for major diseases that could help predict a person’s risk of having a heart attack or dying from cancer.

Grant Morahan and Sylvia YoungThe team from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research’s Centre for Diabetes Research has been selected to develop their technology through the prestigious CSIRO ON Accelerate program. 

The project entitled ‘Advanced Genetic Diagnostics’ offers a new way of analysing genetic data to determine the risks associated with widespread deadly diseases.

“Your DNA holds the secret to your future health and the Advanced Genetic Diagnostics project will help find these secrets hidden in our genetic code,” said Professor Morahan,  head of the Centre for Diabetes Research at the Harry Perkins Institute.

Professor Morahan said the knowledge gained from this technology will improve health and save lives. 

“By determining genetic risk, we can predict survival outcomes for the major diseases impacting our community.”

The CSIRO ON Accelerate program is a structured framework for research teams to validate and develop their high potential ventures to fast-track their idea into better health solutions.  

Perkins researcher and The University of Western Australia Fellow Dr Sylvia Young said Advanced Genetic Diagnostics technology was the best currently available to identify which patients were most at risk of a heart attack or dying of cancers such as melanoma.

“We will be working to make our complex genetic testing available so doctors can predict a person's future health outcomes with far greater accuracy than before.”

“Many companies talk about precision medicine, but we are the only team that has developed the technology to do this for a wide range of common diseases,” she said.

The Perkins team is one of nine research teams selected from across Australia, each exploring innovative technologies in health, robotics, education, and farming.

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