Launch of a new era in healthcare

Thursday, September 27, 2018 — The Australian National University (ANU) will launch its Our Health in Our Hands program today, a $10 million investment in improving health through personalisation of treatment and disease management.

Our Health in Our Hands won the inaugural 2017 ANU Grand Challenges Competition for its unique approach to health care, based on individualising treatment, as opposed to the one-size-fits-all approach of the 20th century.

Part of the Our Health in Our Hands approach is bringing together modern genomics, personalised monitoring through digital devices, data analysis and patient-centric health research and care. 

“ANU is uniquely positioned to bring together these diverse disciplines to achieve transformational outcomes. We’ll work closely with ACT Health to turn findings from our research into clinical practice more quickly,” Professor Matthew Cook, Professor of Medicine at ANU and researcher at John Curtin School of Medical Research.

“Personalised medicine recognises we’re all individuals. Two patients may have the same diagnosis, but there may be different mechanisms at play requiring different treatments.

“Our Health in Our Hands will begin testing the principles of personalised medicine in multiple sclerosis and diabetes.”

"People with multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes, their carers and health care providers are part of the research team and will partner us in what we do form beginning to end," Professor Cook said. 

A key aspect of the program is the combination of genomics and analysis of disease progression using novel devices to provide new clues to disease mechanisms, processes, diagnoses and response to treatment.

“The significant progress in nanotechnology is enabling novel miniaturized biosensors that can be integrated in point-of-care or wearable devices for medical diagnosis," said Associate Professor Antonio Tricoli, group leader of the Nanotechnolgoy Research Laboratory in the Research School of Engineering at ANU. 

"This provides numerous opportunities for the effortless monitoring of key health indicators by non-invasive approaches like breath and sweat analysis.

"This digital health data that we will be able to generate in a semicontinuous fashion will allow the early-stage detection of numerous diseases as well as better monitoring of their treatment and progression,” Associate Professor Tricoli said. 

“The $10 million ANU investment will bring together ACT Health, ANU and other research partners to help realise the potential of personalised medicine,” said ANU Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Calford.

 “ANU has a network of internationally renowned researchers and state-of-the-art infrastructure to develop new approaches to understanding and monitoring disease, with the aim of enhancing treatment precision and improving patient outcomes,” said Professor Calford.

 “I am excited about how this project will lead to improvements in the quality of lives of people with diabetes in the ACT and beyond,” said Professor Chris Nolan, Director of Diabetes Services in the ACT and a lead investigator in the project.

Our Health in Our Hands will be launched today at University House at 9:30am.

For more information please contact Jo Meehan, ANU Media Manager, on 0436 605 635.