Oncology stakeholders met in Vancouver recently for the BC Cancer Summit, which included an enlightening discussion about what is arguably one of the biggest focuses in patient cancer care—precision oncology.

This major industry event brings together hundreds of professionals from all specialties and disciples for invaluable oncology education, professional development and unique relationship-building opportunities.

The three-day summit kicked off with, “From Genomics to Patient Care: The Promise and Reality of Precision Medicine in Current Oncology Practice.”

The breakfast session, supported by Hoffmann- La Roche Limited, included oncologists, researchers and pathologists sharing the latest insights about precision oncology.

BC Cancer oncologists Dr. Howard Lim and Dr. Nicole Chau outlined the fascinating technologies, non-traditional study designs and histology-agnostic indications of this evolving movement, while also assessing the implications for clinical practice.

Scientist and BC Cancer researcher Dean A Regier, together with Dr. Winson Cheung of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, shared data regarding precision oncology and agnostic histology on patient outcomes, as well as health care sustainability.

Bringing things full circle, Dr. Stephen Yip, a pathologist with BC Cancer, discussed some of the challenges with the adoption of precision oncology in clinical practice.

Here are five key takeaways:

  1. Personalized treatment requires health policy changes involving Health Canada and Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) to help define the new standards for drug approvals and funding to improve access to therapies.
  2. Precision oncology is rapidly changing drug development and greater access to genomic testing and targeted therapies are needed in the clinic.
  3. For population impact, we need precision data that supports evidence generation of acceptability, benefit and sustainability.
  4. Effective implementation of personalized health care (PHC) will require equitable access/delivery and alignment of stakeholder expectations.
  5. System-wide changes are needed to implement personalized oncology for everyone.