BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 9

Approaches to manage cancer must be built upon solid data.
Whole genome analyses are capable of providing such data, at
scale and in our B.C. population. The time has come to scale up POG to
comprehensively study this terrible disease, to build the data foundation
that will underpin benefits for cancer patients.
-Dr. Marco Marra

a commitment to raise money to set up a cancer
genomics centre in Canada," Dr. Marra says.
When Dr. Marra returned to B.C. the following
year, "there were two people in the Genome Sciences
Centre: [Nobel Prize winner] Dr. Michael Smith and his
administrative assistant. But I came and Dr. Steven
Jones came from the Sanger Centre in the U.K. and
we took the experiences we had gained abroad to
get going. We were successful in securing funding
from Genome Canada and were privileged to earn
co-authorships on a critically important paper that
described the draft human genome sequence."
The Genome Sciences Centre is now one of the
pre-eminent centres for cancer genomics and
bioinformatics research in the world, employing
more than 322 staff. The GSC has taken part in
1,853 collaborations around the world, working with
more than 226 Canadian and more than 261 international laboratories.

The focus of Dr. Marra and his colleagues' work has
also evolved-today his team's top priority is the
Personalized Onco-Genomics, or "POG" Program.
POG uses the power of whole genome analysis to
find mutations and other genome alterations that
drive cancer progression. Because this information frequently has treatment implications for
POG patients, B.C. has become the first place
in the world to use sensitive whole genome
approaches to assist with treatment planning.
"I wouldn't say that our vision has yet been
achieved," Dr. Marra says. "But for the first time
in two decades of hard work by a lot of people
here and elsewhere, we actually see the enormous
potential offered by POG."
Curious and optimistic, Dr. Marra is highly motivated to solve how cancers become resistant to
therapy: "We know that when a cancer comes back,
its genome can look remarkably different than the
disease at the outset. What we're seeing in cancer is
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Cancer - Fall 2017

BC Cancer - Fall 2017
Opening Thoughts
Healthy Insights
Why I Give
Researcher Profi le
Dr. Marco Marra says “now is the time”
Testing to prevent cancer in families
Counselling program helps families affected by cancer to cope
Legacy Giving
Regional Roundup
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - BC Cancer - Fall 2017
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 2
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Contents
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Healthy Insights
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 5
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Why I Give
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Researcher Profi le
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Dr. Marco Marra says “now is the time”
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 9
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 10
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Testing to prevent cancer in families
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Counselling program helps families affected by cancer to cope
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 13
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Legacy Giving
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - Regional Roundup
BC Cancer - Fall 2017 - 16