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.

Just Posted

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Two knife incidents reported on same day in Campbell River

Stabbing and knife fight both occured on May 13

Cash, drugs and weapons were seized by the Street Crimes Unit on May 12. Photo supplied by Campbell River RCMP
Police recover cash, drugs and weapons after arrest

18-year-old arrested in Willow Point Park for drug trafficking

Good Food Boxes are packed in Gold River to go out to people of that community. The program is one of a few that address food security in the area. Photo supplied by Greenways Land Trust
Group to hold workshop to address food security gaps

‘The only barriers are capacity and people being able to devote time and energy to it.’ — Greenways dir.

Colin Dowler survived a grizzly bear attack July 29, 2019 on Mt. Dougie Dowler on the south coast of British Columbia and reports that his physical and mental rehabilitation is still ongoing. Photo courtesy Colin Dowler
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

The City of Campbell River will purchase an automated external defibrillator (AED) for the Overdose Prevention Site after a letter from a local paramedic pointed out it doesn’t have one. Black Press File Photo
City of Campbell River to buy defibrillator for downtown Overdose Prevention Site

Local paramedic pens letter asking for city’s assistance after trying other avenues to acquire AED

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read