Genomics allows individualize treatments for cancer patients, explains Dr. Howard Lim, medical oncologist, BC Cancer.

Breaking down cancer with genomics

Donor funding has played a pivotal role in advancing genomics research

“It was like a miracle.”

Trish Keating was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010 and after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she was told in 2013 when her cancer returned that it was terminal.

After enrolling in the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program at BC Cancer, the team of experts discovered Trish’s cancer was driven by a specific protein. They then identified and administered an existing blood pressure medication that is known to block pathways to that protein.

The results were rapid and dramatic: eight weeks after starting her new treatment, Trish was tumour-free.

“It’s still so hard to believe,” says Trish. “I was months away from death.”

Trish’s experience is just one example of how genomics – where experts deploy whole genome analysis to inform individual treatment planning for patients – is transforming cancer care for people across B.C.

“The use of genomics is trying to understand the blueprint – what we call the genome – to a cancer, and by understanding that blueprint we can then start to individualize treatments for patients,” says Dr. Howard Lim, medical oncologist, BC Cancer. “Genomics will change not only how we treat cancer, but also how we detect and prevent cancer.”

Cancer genomes are as unique as a fingerprint, and no two genomes are identical. Therefore, says Dr. Lim, cancer treatment can no longer be one-size-fits-all.

“We’re beginning to understand that not all cancers are the same and certain ones respond differently to different treatments, or don’t respond at all to particular treatments,” he says. “With this knowledge we can begin to tailor the type of chemotherapy or targeted agents that we can use for treating specific cancers.”

Dr. Lim says donor funding has played a pivotal role in advancing genomics research, which is also the fundraising focus of BC Cancer Foundation’s Inspiration Gala on Nov. 2.

“The basic science we do to help further all of this research is thanks to donor support – it makes a huge impact to all of us in the clinic,” says Dr. Lim. “In fact, a lot of the research and treatments we’ve moved forward with is because of BC Cancer Foundation donors.”

You can help transform the standard of cancer care with genomically informed treatments for British Columbians facing cancer. Learn more at www.bccancerfoundation.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

City hall, RCMP getting complaints about lack of physical distancing

So far, there’s no public health order to enforce the safety measure

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Uplands Elementary students get chance to wave at teachers

Students haven’t seen teachers in nearly 3 weeks

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Most Read