UBC proposes to advance cancer research as a priority research area with the recruitment of a President’s Excellence Chair in Precision Oncology.
The chairholder will complement leading cancer researchers at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA), Children & Women’s Health Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health, and collaborators at the Life Sciences Centre and Centre for Drug Research and Development.
Currently, tumor biopsies are invasive and expensive. In addition, they have been found to under-sample tumour heterogeneity and cannot be performed serially to feasibly monitor tumour evolution over time. Liquid biopsies using circulating tumor cells (CTC) and cell free DNA (cfDNA) promise an alternative, scalable approach to complement serial biopsies, providing insights to mechanisms of progression and therapeutic resistance while guiding development of treatment strategies.
The Chair will focus on the use of serial sampling to characterize the evolution of cancers upon treatment in order to identify and target emerging resistant driver pathways. There is a significant need for biomarkers to help segment cancers, improve the prediction of natural history and drug sensitivity, and to minimize futile therapy with expensive drugs that can have variable and modest response rates.