For decades, cancer has been categorized according to its site of origin and standard cancer care around the world has been based on the reports of clinical trials or oncologists’ past experience.

This approach often means that patients, including the majority with advanced cancer, receive expensive, toxic treatments that result in little or no benefit.

However, with recent advancements in technology and rapidly expanding knowledge of the human genome, precision treatment strategies customized for each individual cancer patient have never been more real.

What is POG?

The BC Cancer Agency’s Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) Program is the next evolution in the standard of care for all cancer patients, in British Columbia and around the world.

Dr. Janessa Laskin describes the groundbreaking Personalized Onco-Genomics Program (POG)Dr. Janessa Laskin describes the groundbreaking Personalized Onco-Genomics Program (POG) The POG Program is the first—and to date only— program of its kind in the world. Groundbreaking results from POG are changing the global scientific community’s understanding of cancer and uncovering new and improved treatment options for cancer patients.

POG begins by sequencing a patient’s entire genome to create a virtual library of detailed information about every aspect of their cancer. A team of more than 60 experts then collaborate to analyze and interpret this data to customize treatments for the individual that will achieve success.

Supported by BC Cancer Foundation donors

Since fundraising for this priority project commenced in 2014, significant progress has been made and clinically-relevant milestones have been reached, fueled by the generous support of BC Cancer Foundation donors.

The Future

Because each treatment plan is uniquely designed for the patient, POG has the potential to replace invasive therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, in favour of less harmful drugs that will be more effective.

Dr. Janessa Laskin, medical oncologist and Dr. Marco Marra, director of the world-renowned Genome Sciences Centre have begun expanding the POG Program to 2,000 participants.

Moving forward, Dr. Laskin and her colleagues will:

  • Continue to track genomic sequencing results, but also more closely examine outcome data for various therapies, to track the treatments that work and those that don’t.
  • Conduct cost analysis and economic evaluations.

It is anticipated that five years from now, when 2,000 participants have been through the POG Program, researchers will have a clear understanding of what it takes to integrate genomics into standard cancer care.