In 2013, BC Cancer Agency researchers embarked on a bold new initiative to customize treatment for each and every breast cancer patient in British Columbia. Over the past two years, Dr. Samuel Aparicio and his research team have:

  • begun using single cancer cells to expose how breast cancers evolve and identify the cell populations that expand and dominate over time;
  • identified a novel mechanism that can restructure a cancer's genome and introduce hundreds of mutations. Previously overlooked, this mechanism raises important questions about the effect environmental factors can have on tumour evolution.

Now, Dr. Aparicio’s team is building on these findings to test drug resistance in breast cancer and further study the clonal evolution of the disease – these experiments will lead to a greater depth of knowledge to improve patient treatment and care in the future. 

The BC Cancer Foundation is committed to seeing the Breast Cancer Research Initiative achieve its goal of genomically sequencing every single breast cancer patient’s tumour at the time of diagnosis, province-wide.

The result: personalized strategies for patients with each of the ten unique breast cancer sub-types; more effective treatment protocols from the start of each patient’s cancer journey; more and more patients hearing the word “cure.”

To learn more or to support breast cancer research, contact Erik Dierks, 
Vice President, Development
 at 604.707.5942 or