$3m federal government grant supports world-first IVF study
A $3 million federal government grant for a world-first IVF study has been welcomed by the research team partners.
Researchers from Virtus Health, healthtech startup 23Strands and Monash University, are studying how whole genome sequencing can be used to achieve better patient outcomes with IVF medications.
The grant from the government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) is providing the funding over four years.
James Pyne, Virtus Health CEO said: “The impact of this grant has huge potential to benefit all IVF patients and is a significant step forward for IVF research and innovation.
Having a better understanding of a patient’s genomic sequencing can help clinicians deliver improved fertility insights, treatments, and personalised medicine, and ultimately better success rates.” said Mr Pyne.
Lead researcher Professor Beverley Vollenhoven from Monash University says the study has the potential to revolutionise the entire landscape of fertility care.
“The groundbreaking collaboration of integrating genomics, artificial intelligence and clinical care aspires to set a new global standard to positively improve women’s responses to IVF medications,” Professor Vollenhoven said.
By understanding how a woman’s genes can affect how they respond to IVF medications, the study’s end goal is to create an AI-driven tool to deliver better targeted doses and improve IVF success rates.
A recent pilot study by Virtus Health and 23Strands found genetic variations mean every woman has a different response to ovarian stimulation medication.
The MRFF grant will enable the research team to build on these preliminary findings; and conduct a four-year randomised control trial (RCT); the gold standard and most scientifically rigorous assessment method, to help develop a tool for personally targeted dosing of medications.
23Strands co-founder and CEO Mark Grosser said, “This world-first project is special because we will be using new ways to process information about IVF treatments. 23Strands brings innovation that combines data from scientific research, medical records and genetics to deliver tailored personalised medical reports for women. Our world-leading partners will help ensure that this is done in an ethical, safe and effective way.”
A/Prof Vinayak Smith, Head of New Ventures at Virtus Health said: “Virtus Health was the first to develop artificial intelligent embryo selection software. With this new study, we aim to be the first IVF service provider in Australia to offer whole-genome sequencing and AI to augment reproductive decision making and help people achieve their dream of starting a family.”