Dr. Marco Marra
Director, Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency

Blog Posts by Dr. Marco Marra

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 blog posts

The Future of Genomics: Personalized medicine

It really is a very exciting time to work at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre (GSC). We are working with many other research teams, both at the Agency and around the world, to help better understand cancer and to use this advanced knowledge to succeed in treating cancer cells. In the last 18 months, there have been a number of world-class genome science breakthroughs at the BC Cancer Agency in breast, ovarian and lymphoid cancers — and the GSC has been involved in all of them. In these studies, many new genes with “spelling mistakes” (mutations) in them have been identified. We...

How technology is helping genomics

As I mentioned in my last post, the amount of DNA in your body is astounding, as is the number of cells, which has been estimated at 100 trillion When I started in genomics, searching for cancer-causing mutations was a huge and expensive endeavor, and simply could not be done comprehensively. The tools to understand the structure and function of cancer cell genomes simply did not exist. All of that has drastically changed thanks to advances in technology. So called “next-generation” DNA sequencing has dramatically changed the rate and cost of doing DNA sequencing for cancer mutation detection...

What is genomics?

Since genomics can seem complicated, let’s start with the basics so that you understand a bit better what my team does. Many people are aware that the cells of living organisms contain DNA that encodes the information that their cells need to grow and divide normally. The term genome refers to the DNA within the cells. Although most of the genome is similar between individuals, there are also a lot of differences. For instance, the copy of the genome that we inherited from Mom is different than the copy of the genome that we inherited from Dad. Genomics refers to a collection of special tools...

Meet Dr. Marco Marra

Hello readers! My name is Marco and I’m the Director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre . I’ll explain a bit more about genomics in a future posting. But I thought I’d start with a bit of information about our program, how it came to be, and why it’s unique. Around 1997, Dr. Victor Ling, then Vice-President of Research at the BC Cancer Agency, working with Nobel laureate Dr. Michael Smith, saw the potential of DNA analysis (genomics) to unlock new information about diseases and in particular cancers. The human genome hadn’t even been fully decoded yet, but Drs. Ling and Smith...