Research Investments: 2018

After investing in genetic sequencing in 2017, we realized we were just scratching the surface: both in terms of our understanding of pancreatic cancer subtypes, but also in the ways that personalized medicine – which involves treatment plans tailored to each patient – was becoming the best way forward for patients affected by this disease. With this in mind, we renewed our investment in the genetic sequencing projects of the previous year, enabling researchers to learn more about the disease and help more patients become eligible for clinical trials and find therapies that would be best for them. Then we went one step further by funding the expansion of one genetic sequencing program to Halifax to serve patients in Atlantic Canada.

COMPASS

Dr. Jennifer Knox & Dr. Steve Gallinger, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (ON)

COMPASS involves comprehensive, real time genomic analysis of advanced PDAC (metastatic and locally advanced) tumours, using the whole genome and RNA sequencing for a clinically meaningful turn around time. This means any genetic discoveries that may be found have the potential to impact treatment decisions for participating patients, increasing their eligibility for clinical trials and finding the best treatment for their subtype.

COMPASS Expansion: Halifax

Dr. Ravi Ramijeesingh, QEII Health Sciences Centre (NS)

The maritime provinces have the highest pancreatic cancer mortality rate in Canada, so it was critical for us to enable those in the Atlantic region access to COMPASS sequencing. This investment contributed towards the set up costs and research coordination necessary to work closely with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where the COMPASS program is centralized. It is our hope that in the years to come this investment will help many patients get treated based on their subtype of pancreatic cancer and live longer lives.

PanGen

Dr. Dan Renouf, BC Cancer Agency (BC)

Similar to COMPASS, the PanGen study involves sequencing patient tumour biopsies to discover subtypes. Researchers then analyze the tumours to look for specific molecular signatures, making some patients eligible for clinical trials, finding the best treatment, and ultimately helping us learn more about this disease.