In my last several posts I discussed some of the new treatments being developed for pancreatic cancer. As more options become available it is becoming increasingly important to improve our ability to individualize treatment strategies. 

Our group at the BC Cancer Agency and Pancreas Centre BC is very interested in studying ways to better sub-classify pancreatic cancer in the hopes of selecting treatments that are most likely to benefit patients. One strategy is through sequencing the genetic code, or DNA, that makes up the cancer cells, to try to understand what is driving the growth of a specific cancer.

At the Agency we are very fortunate to have world-class expertise in genome sequencing, as part of the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, and we have embarked on the Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program to sequence the tumours of patients with advanced cancers, including pancreatic cancer. The sequencing information is analyzed by a team of scientists and reviewed by scientists and physicians to try to determine an optimal treatment strategy based on the specific abnormalities present within that cancer.

Another question our group is asking is how differences in protein expression between pancreatic cancer tumours may predict for either sensitivity or resistance to our different treatment strategies. This is a very exciting area in pancreatic cancer research – as genetic or protein based markers that sub-classify pancreatic cancer are discovered, it will go a long way in enabling us provide more individualized and effective treatments.

Of course, we would not be able to ask these types of questions without generous support from BC Cancer Foundation donors. The Ride to Conquer Cancer is just one of the ways donors support our ongoing work to uncover better options for pancreatic cancer patients in B.C. and today is Epic Impact Day, a perfect opportunity to show your support to a Ride participant! 

As a past participant in the Ride, I can tell you that it’s an amazing event – both physically challenging and inspiring, and also a lot of fun!

Thanks again for reading,
Dan

Medical Oncologist and Co-Director of Pancreas Centre BC