Vancouver, BC – BC’s provincial government is adding $3 million to the funding it is providing to the BC Cancer Foundation for the Personalized Onco-Genomics program and other high priority cancer projects.
This announcement adds to the $2 million provided to the BC Cancer Foundation to support breast cancer research, which was announced in October 2015.
“As we move forward with our comprehensive technology strategy, it’s clear that British Columbians continue to benefit from projects undertaken by the best and brightest researchers,” said Terry Lake, the provincial health minister. “We are seeing proof on the ground that innovations in personalized health care from the BC Cancer Agency make a big difference giving hope to those with the most aggressive or recurring forms of cancer.”
The goals of the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) project are to apply advanced genome sequencing techniques to patients in real-time: decode the genome (the entire DNA inside the cell of each patient’s cancer) to understand what is enabling it to grow, and to develop treatment strategies to block its growth.
By understanding the genetic makeup of a patient’s tumour, researchers hope to pinpoint potential drug therapies that would be the most effective for that specific tumour at that time, and spare patients and the health care system from treatments that have little or no clinical benefit.
Under the program, every patient is their own personalized clinical trial, allowing the research team to rapidly translate the results into care and targeted treatment.
The program is expanding from its current 350 patients to 2,000 patients over the next five years. The highly experimental research program supports BC Cancer Agency patients with metastatic disease. Currently, the study can enroll six to eight patients per week. So far the program has treated patients with 50 different types of cancer.