Dr. Stephen Chia (left) will be leading the two-year pilot project. (BC Cancer Agency photo)

New B.C. pilot to probe how blood tests might improve cancer treatment

According to the BC Cancer agency, ctDNA could determine the right course of drugs, response

The BC Cancer agency is pursuing a two-year probe to test theories that a simple blood test could help predict the kind of treatment needed for someone battling cancer.

Blood can contain tiny fragments of DNA from a person’s specific cancer, called ctDNA. According to the agency’s researchers, those fragments could point to the right drugs that keep doctors one step ahead of the cancer, effectively breaking it down.

BC Cancer announced the pilot Thursday, backed by a $1.2-million donation from the Conconi Family Foundation.

The pilot will first focus on breast cancer patients across B.C. and collect and analyze the ctDNA.

Dr. Stephen Chia, chair of the agency’s breast cancer tumour group, said he firmly believes ctDNA is the “next frontier” in understanding how to treat breast cancers.

“We believe this will have critical implications for other cancers, such as lung, colon, ovary, pancreatic and bladder.”


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