Montréal, October 29, 2021 – The promise of precision oncology has yet to benefit all cancer patients. Disparities in genomic testing, inability to access genomic tests and targeted therapies, and delays in testing create an inconsistent landscape across the country. Precision Medicine Awareness Month is meant to raise awareness about precision medicine, specifically precision oncology and to educate patients with the knowledge to confidently ask for genomic testing when appropriate to ensure more consistency and access to genomic testing.

This year Colorectal Cancer Canada and Lymphoma Canada are joining the cancer collaborative to help spread the message on the importance of precision medicine and its impact for cancer patients in Canada, but also the impact it can have on healthcare systems if implemented consistently across the country.

Precision medicine is rapidly developing and becoming an important component of clinical practice for cancer care, improving survival and quality of life for people living with cancer, but also reducing unnecessary treatment, and decreasing the burden of cancer on healthcare systems. Precision medicine utilizes molecular profiling to identify actionable alterations, allowing clinicians to prescribe targeted therapies.  

Precision Medicine Awareness Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of genomic testing and its role in precision medicine. The goals of Precision Medicine Awareness Month are

  • Increased access and decreased waiting times for genomic testing across canada
  • Information to educate and empower patients and caregivers around the potential and availability of genomic testing
  • Harmonized and efficient pathways across canada to implement and realize the promise and potential of precision medicine 

Precision Medicine Awareness Month runs through the month of November on social media.

Follow @cancercolab @coloncanada and @lymphomacanada for more information or visit


montréal. november 02. 2020. throughout the month of november, the cancer collaborative in collaboration with the european cancer patients coalition [ECPC] will highlight the growing role that precision medicine plays in oncology through the CRACKING THE CANCER CODE campaign.
the premise of precision oncology is to treat patients based on the molecular characteristics of the tumour and employs the use of diverse strategies in cancer care from the use of targeted therapies to application of comprehensive genomic profiling, such as next generation sequencing [NGS] to guide patient care.
variability and access exists in how molecular testing is being utilized across canada and how this impacts patient care- from screening to diagnosing, prognosis and prevention of cancer in canadians. the goal of this campaign is to raise awareness of the current biomarkers currently approved in canada to empower patients, their families and caregivers to request testing when appropriate and to make testing for alterations standard of care for certain cancers.
the molecular information provided through testing can guide decision making for the best patient care by providing the targeted therapies for effective treatment, reducing toxicities and improving patient outcomes and bettering quality of life for patients.
this is the second year the campaign has had a presence in canada- in 2020, as well as the outreach on biomarkers the cancer collaborative has launched a survey for healthcare professionals to understand the variability in testing across canada.
about the cancer collaborative [colab]
the cancer collaborative is a not for profit advocacy  group with a mission to bridge science, policy and advocacy to proactively identify the challenges and opportunities within oncology, prioritize them and work together to make action oriented changes on how cancer care is delivered in canada. meeting the challenges of today’s cancer ecosystem with innovation and collaboration to create meaningful impact for patients and system readiness through multistakeholder engagement.
to find out more or to get involved
sabrina hanna
managing director
the cancer collaborative
@cancercolab on twitter and instagram
treating the patient not the cancer
montréal. november 8. 2019– before personalized medicine [PM], cancer patients with a specific type and stage of cancer all received the same treatment. some patients would respond and others would not. with the introduction of personalized medicine, patients can be treated based on their unique molecular and genetic profile, guiding the treatment pathway and ensuring more successful outcomes. this approach allows clinicians to go beyond the one size fits all model of prescribing, to make effective clinical decisions for each patient.

personalized medicine has the potential to tailor therapy with the best response and highest safety margin to ensure better patient care. it has the potential to improve the ability of physicians to diagnose and treat disease, and offers the potential to detect disease at an earlier stage, when it is easier to treat effectively. this is because PM treats people with cancer based on ‘who’ they are, not just ‘where’ their cancer is located, it holds promise for improving health care while also lowering costs.

this november, the cancer collaborative in collaboration with the european cancer patients coalition is launching personalized medicine awareness month in canada, to raise awareness of, and increase access to, personalized medicine and molecular testing in cancer care.

according to the canadian cancer society an estimated 220.400 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2019, an average of 604 canadians diagnosed with cancer every day. and more and more canadians are living with cancer.

the hope of precision medicine is that treatments will one day be tailored to the genetic changes in each person’s cancer, therefore the cancer collaborative is calling for greater access to molecular testing to help patients get the right treatment for them, today.

  • increased access and decreased waiting times for high quality molecular testing across canada;
  • information to educate and empower patients and caregivers around the potential and availability of molecular testing;
  • a harmonised and more efficient pathway across canada to implement and realize the promise and potential of personalized medicine



CAR-T. how much longer must canadians wait
while some government programs seem to be aimed at increasing canada’s capacity to innovate others undermine these initiatives.

montréal, november 4.2019– there are an ever growing number of therapeutic and diagnostic technologies being developed and coming to market in oncology. many of these have the potential to transform oncology. if these technologies can’t get to patients they can’t deliver on their promise. the federal government has made clear that innovation is a priority and provincial government’s, like quebec have invested in life sciences and innovative technologies in healthcare.

one such innovative technology is CAR-T. the first pioneering CAR T-cell therapies represent a paradigm shift in the treatment of cancer and a breakthrough for some relapsed or refractory hematological malignancies, showing durable responses and potential for long-term disease control unrivaled by conventional therapy. the first car t-cell therapy received health canada approval in september 2018 and was recommended by CADTH and INESSS with conditions in January 2019. in october 2019, the québec government announced it would reimburse CAR-T, but still no agreement has been made by Cancer Care Ontario [CCO] to make CAR-T available to canadian patients. and access delays decrease the promise of the therapeutic value of CAR T, creating an interesting dichotomy between government’s desire to cut costs but also undercutting the value simultaneously.

one of the major concerns of delivering car-t has been around site readiness, the complexity and uniqueness of car-t requires specialized centres to provide this therapy and expertise to manage the side effects. currently accredited sites to provide car-t cell [ste justine’s hospital for children [montréal, QC], the centre hospitalier de l’universite de montréal [montréal, QC], sick kids [toronto, ON] and the juravinsky cancer centre [hamilton, ON]] are ready to start treating patients, but without a negotiated price or a formal agreement to list on provincial formularies [PLA], these centres are ready to go but without a therapy to offer.

the cancer collaborative advocates for responsible pricing, but limiting drug prices shouldn’t come by limiting patients access to life saving therapies. especially when patients are being sent south of the border to receive car-t at almost double the cost.

there is a willingness on behalf of payors and decision makers to provide access to CAR T-cell therapies for paediatric and adult patients across canada in a way that is ethical, equitable but in order to make it meaningful for patients, there needs to be a better way to do this, and to expedite reimbursement so that car-t is available in canada

as continuous innovations happen in cancer care, the need to start thinking more responsibly about reimbursement and policies that promote innovation in canada while creating efficiency and value for stakeholders will be important as canada strives to seek a balance between innovation and sustainability.