Agassiz/Vancouver – A study led by BC Cancer researchers which looked into the genetic profiles of advanced pancreatic cancers has led to a unique treatment and is offering reason to be hopeful with a cancer that is hard to diagnose and treat effectively.Published in Clinical Cancer Research, the study found a small group of patients whose pancreatic cancer carried a rare trait that was potentially treatable with a targeted therapy often used to treat lung cancer.After receiving treatment, those patients’ health improved.
In particular, Agassiz resident Calvin Sommert has a new lease on life.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016, Calvin was one of 47 British Columbians who participated in a study led by BC Cancer researchers and published last week in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The results of which, says lead BC Cancer researcher Dr. Daniel Renouf, have been “rapid and remarkable.”
Calvin, a husband and father of two, thinks back to before receiving treatment “I felt terrible back then. I had lost about 70 pounds.” That is until he and 46 other British Columbians received a full genetic analysis on their pancreatic cancers. To his surprise, Cavin was one of three participants whose cancer had a very unique trait – one that Dr. Renouf had seen before in lung cancer and recognized as potentially treatable. “These results showcase the potential of precision medicine to help individualize treatments,” says Dr. Renouf, “it gives us reason to be optimistic.”
“I’ve gained weight back and I’m hiking and mountain biking with my family again,” says Calvin. He’s especially looking forward to fishing on the Vedder River and golfing at Bridal Falls.
Pancreatic cancer is currently the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Canada, with 700 people diagnosed each year in British Columbia alone. Within the next decade, it is poised to become the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.