BC Cancer Foundation - Fall 2016 - (Page 13)

ADVANCE CANCER CARE TODAY! Learn more about the Oncopanel and ongoing precision-based research initiatives at bccancerfoundation.com. Dr. Aly Karsan, medical director for the Cancer Genetics Laboratory, BC Cancer Agency and head of the Centre for Clinical Genomics. The Cancer's DNA Matters Cancer gene analysis becoming standard care P ersonalizing cancer treatment has been the goal of many scientists worldwide. Yet only a select few have managed to do it in a practical way. One of them is Dr. Aly Karsan, who began with a focus on tailoring treatment decisions for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Dr. Karsan wanted to develop a test that would give AML patients more precise treatment options by testing their cancer's genes. His project got off the ground with funds from the Inspiration Gala, and soon after, his team was one of the first in Canada putting a test of this capacity into clinical testing. Realizing they could successfully perform multi-gene testing, also called panel testing, in a timely way led Dr. Karsan to believe it would be feasible to develop a similar test for patients with solid tumours, such as colon or lung. "We needed a gene analysis test that was ready for the clinic," Dr. Karsan says. This idea gave way to a new lifeline for cancer patients in B.C. that's becoming a part of everyday care: the Oncopanel. Upwards of 2,000 patients per year can now benefit from the test in a provincial rollout that's a first in Canada. HOW THE ONCOPANEL WORKS From a biopsy, the Oncopanel analyzes a patient's cancer through next-generation sequencing, specifically searching for more than 100 mutations within 39 known cancer genes. Each mutation included is targetable, meaning there's a known treatment option to match. In just two weeks, oncologists receive a report to help zero in on the best treatment plan for patients. The Oncopanel aids in care decisions for patients with advanced colorectal and lung cancers, melanoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) and low-grade gliomas. Tests of this kind are only available at the top few cancer care institutions in the world. "I'm really pleased we are able to serve the patients in a better, cuttingedge way," says Dr. Karsan of the project. At approximately $1,000 per patient, it's a cost-effective tool that will mean patients receive more precise and effective treatments. Dr. Karsan says the progress is made possible by donors: "By seeing the value and investing in projects with such a breadth of patients who benefit, donors have a real impact on care." W W W.BCCANCERFOUNDATION.COM 13 http://www.bccancerfoundation.com http://WWW.BCCANCERFOUNDATION.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Cancer Foundation - Fall 2016

BC Cancer Foundation - Fall 2016
Opening Thoughts
Healthy Insights
Why I Give
Researcher Profi le
Bringing Cancer Care Closer to Home
Mapping the Spread of the Deadliest
A Better Biopsy
The Cancer’s DNA Matters
Legacy Giving
Regional Roundup

BC Cancer Foundation - Fall 2016

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