Precision Medicine Research Program

Precision Medicine Research Program

Identifying the most appropriate treatments for individual patients by deciphering the characteristics of complex diseases – providing the right treatment for each patient at the right time.

Treating complex disorders, including cancers, is made harder by high levels of variation, meaning that the drugs developed for these conditions will not work effectively for everyone. While we now have unprecedented capacity to dissect intricate characteristics and decipher the molecular cause of a condition, we’re lagging in our ability to translate this insight through clinical trials. Investigator initiated clinical trials are extremely challenging already but the complexity is amplified for precision interventions.  

Our program forms a connection between basic medical research and patient-centred intervention studies by linking and streamlining HMRI’s disease and ‘omic’ specific expertise into a cohesive pathway to clinical translation regardless of the disease.  

Instead of focusing on a single disorder, our research program is focused on improving treatment for complex disorders. A “complex” disorder is one where there is no single, big, cause. But instead there are many small environmental and genetic factors that influence disease risk and disease progression. Currently, our program focuses on various cancers and psychiatric/mental health disorders, where much progress has been made identifying the myriad factors that contribute to disease. The usual treatments for these disorders are “one size fits all” treatments that have hugely variable effects on each individual treated. Our vision is to improve treatment outcomes by tailoring treatments based on an individual’s genetic and environmental history. 

To this end, our program links basic medical research on the myriad causes of complex disease and patient-centred intervention studies that aim to improve treatment outcomes for these complex diseases. 

Research Innovations and discovery

Basic medical research and clinical research are separate research areas with limited communication between them. Often, important basic research discoveries are ignored or forgotten by researchers in clinical research, while the lessons of clinical research remain unknown to those in basic research.

Our program will link basic research and clinical research into a streamlined pathway that allows for information to flow both ways. We will integrate ‘omics’ techniques for both basic and applied research questions. We will unlock the expertise of basic researchers for clinical research while providing basic researchers the information and context needed to answer the right questions. 

Professor Murray Cairns
Research Program :
  • Precision Medicine Research Program
Research Topics :
Clinical Mental Health, Schizophrenia
Associate Professor Nikki Verrills
Research Program :
  • Precision Medicine Research Program
Research Topics :
Breast Cancer, Leukaemia