Canberra obstetrician Stephen Robson sees the effects of genetic conditions regularly, but now has hope many could be eradicated in the foreseeable future.
The Canberra specialist is the obstetrician for Mackenzie’s Mission, which was handed $20 million in Tuesday night’s budget for a trial of genetic screening for thousands of couples around the country.
It is the first project to come out of the $500 million over 10 years the government has allocated to Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission, which aims to use genomics to create tailored medical treatments.
The mission began off the campaigning of Sydney parents Rachael and Jonny Casella, who lost their baby Mackenzie to spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) last year.
Dr Robson and the group of mostly genetic specialists met with Health minister Greg Hunt on Tuesday morning.
He said the investment and commitment to screening was unprecedented.
“It’s really thrilling and shows how quickly technology is advancing," he said.
As an obstetrician, his role on the project is around helping couples become pregnant and discussing their options - such as IVF - if the screening detects the possibility of genetic conditions.
"One of the concerns at moment is around the genetic haves and have nots," Dr Robson said.
"This really levels the playing field for everyone."
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