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In this story
Prof Robert Lindeman
Director of Clinical Operations
Acting Associate Director of Genomics
Mr. Martin Canova
Director, Strategy and Transformation
Mr Darren Croese
Chief Operating Officer
Senior Hospital Scientist, Statewide Services - Genomics
Ms. Nicole Pearce
Clinical Services Operations Manager - Genomics
Dr. Bente Talseth-Palmer
Research Strategy Lead
Prof Wendy Cooper
Anatomical Pathology Clinical Stream Lead and Senior Staff Specialist
A/Prof Trent Davidson
Local Pathology Director, South East Sydney (Prince of Wales, Randwick), Clinical Director Anatomical Pathology and Senior Staff Specialist
Dr. Eva Chan
Mr. Simon Winter
Associate Director of Clinical IT Operations
NSW Health Pathology staff are playing a key role in a new study aimed at opening up new, potentially life-saving treatment pathways for more than 23,000 Australians with rare, difficult-to-treat or incurable cancers, including ovarian, pancreatic and sarcomas.
PrOSPeCT (Precision Oncology Screening Platform enabling Clinical Trials), officially launched by Omico on 27 July 2023, will provide faster access to the most advanced cancer fighting treatments – genomic profiling and matching to precision treatments, including early-stage clinical trials.
The study brings together a national network of leading cancer research centres, and diagnostic and treatment services, with NSWHP providing a range of services including:
- blood collection
- supply of diagnostic tissue
- central tissue sectioning
- genomic sequencing/comprehensive genomic profiling services
- biobanking of blood samples, and
- logistics, ICT infrastructure, bioinformatic, operational and research support.
We expect to receive more than 3,500 sample requests over the course of the study.
Acting Chief Executive Prof Rob Lindeman says it’s an exciting opportunity for NSWHP, which has been made possible by the expertise and dedication of our people right across the state.
“I’m incredibly proud to be providing integrated, statewide services for this collaborative, cutting-edge project that will offer new treatment pathways for those who greatly need them,” he said.
“Over the last 12 months, our multidisciplinary teams have been working hard to build vital capacity and infrastructure to support our participation”.
We want to recognise some of the people within our organisation who have played a key role in the PrOSPeCT project so far.
Our project team
Our core project team has worked tirelessly to facilitate the planning for this complex project and ensure our services for PrOSPeCT are ready for the official launch. Michael Hipwell, Senior Hospital Scientist, Nicole Pearce, Clinical Services Operations Manager Genomics and Dr Bente Talseth-Palmer, Research Strategy Lead have led the project for NSWHP, coordinating the involvement of our staff from right across the organisation.
Michael, Nicole and Bente have been supported by:
- Prof Rob Lindeman, NSWHP Acting Chief Executive and Executive Sponsor
- Martin Canova, Director Strategy and Transformation and Acting Director Clinical Operations
- Louise Carey, Acting Director of Genomics
- Darren Croese, Chief Operating Officer
- Prof Jennifer Byrne, Director of Biobanking
- Sarah Balk, Senior Legal Counsel
- the PrOSPeCT Steering Committee, whose members have provided leadership in clinical operations, corporate governance, finance, ICT, DevOps, procurement, quality, research, people and culture, project management and strategic communications, and
- our Collectors, CSRs and research coordinators right across the state.
Dr Cliff Meldrum, who recently celebrated his retirement, was also an instrumental member of the project team.
Our genomic sequencing and comprehensive genomic profiling services
Our Genomics Statewide Sequencing Service and Molecular Medicine department located at John Hunter Hospital Newcastle and led by Senior Hospital Scientist, Michael Hipwell have worked for 12 months to develop the new test, or assay, required for PrOSPeCT, which looks at more than 500 genes. With the support of Clinical Supervisor Dr Michael Buckley and Kelly Kiejda, Genomics JHH, Michael Hipwell also secured our NATA accreditation.
Our supply of diagnostic tissue and central tissue sectioning service
Our Anatomical Pathology (AP) labs across the state are supplying diagnostic tissue for the PrOSPeCT study and collaboration with Prof Wendy Cooper, AP Clinical Stream Lead and Senior Staff Specialist and the AP Clinical Stream has been essential to enable this. Hui Yin, Senior staff specialist and Ricardo Valain, Staff Specialist at our John Hunter Hospital AP Lab are ensuring adequacy or suitability of tissue samples for the project.
NSWHP is also providing a central tissue sectioning service based at our Prince of Wales Hospital (PoWH) Randwick lab. A/Prof Trent Davidson, Local Pathology Director, South East Sydney, Clinical Director Anatomical Pathology and Senior Staff Specialist is responsible for this essential service and oversees staffing, resources and processing outputs. He is supported by Joanne La Malfa, Anatomical Pathology Manager, and Monica Ahuja, Senior Scientific Officer at PoWH who have led the setup of infrastructure and recruitment of specialist staff at PoWH for PrOSPeCT.
Our Statewide Biobank
All blood samples collected for the PrOSPeCT study are banked at the NSW Health Statewide Biobank. Dr Beth Caruana, Senior Scientist, and the team at the Biobank have implemented new high-throughput laboratory workflows to process thousands of patient samples for future research.
Our ICT infrastructure and bioinformatics pipeline
Our ICT Infrastructure and bioinformatic pipeline support and enable data and analysis for our labs to analyse and provide a diagnostic report. Connor McBride, NSWHP Genomics Cloud DevOps, Eva Chan, Senior Bioinformatician and her team and Neil Curryer, Fiona Millar-Hennessey and Simon Winters, Clinical Operations ICT and Tim Eckersley, Chief Technology Officer have been instrumental in its creation.
Read more about the launch of PrOSPeCT and the work of NSW Health Pathology’s Statewide Genomics Sequencing Service here.