Significant research advancement

In May 2015, BC Cancer Agency scientists made a significant discovery that is bringing new hope to young patients facing high-risk childhood tumours of the connective tissues, including bones and muscles.

These cancers in children can be extremely difficult to treat, because they have a high tendency to spread to other parts of the body. Until now, little has been known about the mechanism that causes these cells to spread.

Dr. Poul Sorensen and his colleagues studied a previously unrecognized pathway, involving two proteins. They found that one can stimulate the production of the other when large tumours outgrow their blood supply and become oxygen deficient. This means that if the first is targeted by drugs, it may be the key to stopping the spread of disease.

Personalized Onco-Genomics for Pediatrics

Other exciting advances are expected to come from Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG), which is set to change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated, not only in B.C., but beyond.

Research has proven that one size doesn’t fit all, and this is especially true when it comes to cancer treatment and care. Sequencing the genetic code, or DNA, that makes up the cancer cells will help experts understand what is driving the growth of the cancer, and in turn change the course of the diagnosis, treatment and survival rate.

A team of 30 medical oncologists, researchers and pathologists from the BC Cancer Agency and BC Children’s Hospital are currently using POG, customized for pediatric patients. Of the dozens of children that have been enrolled in POG, with a variety of cancer types that have recurred, some have had targetable pathways identified. As a result, they were started on new, targeted therapies, based on genomic information about their cancers that could only be obtained through the POG Program.


Target pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia (TpAML)

BC Cancer scientists currently collaborating with international partners to advance treatment solutions for Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Treatment protocols for AML have remained unchanged for the past 30 years and AML claims more lives than all types of leukemia combined.

Read more and donate to TpAML here


Related information

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