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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 2434


Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (15:56): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (the Garvan Institute) has completed the first cancer research project using the DreamLab app, in half the time it would have otherwise taken,

   (ii) the DreamLab app, developed in partnership with Vodafone Foundation, uses the processing power of idle smartphones to give the Garvan Institute free access to a supercomputer resource, to allow it to conduct ground-breaking cancer research,

   (iii) its first project, Project Decode, mapped the genome of breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer patients to help researchers better understand these cancers based on a patient's DNA profile,

   (iv) the mapping highlighted genome clusters and has allowed the researchers to see patterns they can now explore further,

   (v) Project Decode was completed with 121,000 app users, whose idle smartphones crunched 75 million calculations, since being launched in November 2015,

   (vi) the Garvan Institute intends to make the research data publically available for other researchers to use, and plans to publish the findings of this project in a research journal in June, and

   (vii) the Garvan Institute's other DreamLab project, Project Genetic Profile, is decoding brain, lung, melanoma and sarcoma cancers, and is one-fifth of the way towards completion;

(b) further notes that:

   (i) this work is part of the Garvan Institute's ongoing effort to tackle rare and less common cancers,

   (ii) the Garvan Institute's Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, in Sydney, has taken close to 1000 Australians with rare and less common cancers since October 2016,

   (iii) the Garvan Institute aims to make this program available nationally, by linking with cancer centres in all states and territories, so patients do not need to travel to Sydney, and

   (iv) the Garvan Institute's research, plus its national approach to treating cancer patients with high unmet needs, contributes to the evidence base state and federal governments need to make informed decisions about genomic and precision medicine; and

(c) calls on senators who want to play their part in this research to download and use the DreamLab app if they have not already done so, to help accelerate this research, and for those who have already used the app to continue their contribution to this ground-breaking cancer research.

Question agreed to.