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Firsts


  • BC Cancer scientists were the first in world to decode the genetic evolution of a breast cancer tumour. Scientists decoded all of the three billion letters in the DNA sequence of a metastatic lobular breast cancer tumour, a type of breast cancer which accounts for about 10 per cent of all breast cancers, and have found all of the mutations that caused the cancer to spread. 
  • Researchers from BC Cancer’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute were first to discover that a single genetic mutation is behind one of the deadliest forms of ovarian cancer. Centred around the rare and often untreatable "granulosa cell tumour", this discovery could help unravel the causes of many other cancers and lead to a whole host of new treatments. 
  • Researchers from BC Cancer, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute and the University of British Columbia completed the first comprehensive study examining educational late effects of survivors of all forms of childhood cancers. The study showed that some childhood cancer survivors, in particular those diagnosed with brain tumours, experience learning difficulties in school.
  • BC Cancer launched a new research program — the Complementary Medicine Education and Outcomes Program (CAMEO) — which is the first of its kind in Canada. The program supports cancer patients and health professionals in making informed decisions about how to safely integrate evidence-based complementary medicine with conventional cancer care.
  • BC Cancer published the first long-term results from the largest prostate brachytherapy program in Canada, showing brachytherapy is a very effective treatment for early stage prostate cancer. The population-based study tracks the disease outcomes of the first 1,006 consecutive patients treated through BC Cancer’s Prostate Brachytherapy Program since its inception in July 1998.
  • BC was the first province to implement Oncopanel genomic screening for cancer patients, but it won't be the last, and the list of treatable mutations will continue to grow and become more robust as each patient's information is added to the database. Agencies across Canada are also working together to discuss the accelerated clinical trials of off-label treatments with pharmaceutical companies.

  • BC Cancer launched a new research program — the Complementary Medicine Education and Outcomes Program (CAMEO) — which is the first of its kind in Canada. The program supports cancer patients and health professionals in making informed decisions about how to safely integrate evidence-based complementary medicine with conventional cancer care.
  • BC Cancer published the first long-term results from the largest prostate brachytherapy program in Canada, showing brachytherapy is a very effective treatment for early stage prostate cancer. The population-based study tracks the disease outcomes of the first 1,006 consecutive patients treated through BC Cancer’s Prostate Brachytherapy Program since its inception in July 1998.
  • BC was the first province to implement Oncopanel genomic screening for cancer patients, but it won't be the last, and the list of treatable mutations will continue to grow and become more robust as each patient's information is added to the database. Agencies across Canada are also working together to discuss the accelerated clinical trials of off-label treatments with pharmaceutical companies.
  • ‎Scientists from BC Cancer’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program of BC (OvCaRe) were the first to ask all BC gynecologists to change surgical practice to fully remove the fallopian tube when performing hysterectomy or tubal ligation. Ovarian cancer deaths could be reduced 50 per cent over 20 years by the change in practice. The request stems from new research that discovered the majority of high grade serous tumours, the most deadly form of ovarian cancer, actually arise in the fallopian tube, not the ovary.
  • BC Cancer implemented the first publicly-funded PET/CT scanner in BC through a $5.1 million investment by the provincial government and established the Centre of Excellence for Functional Cancer Imaging. The Centre received a further $6.4 million for a cyclotron and radiopharmaceutical lab to manufacture radiopharmaceuticals for both clinical and research use. 
  • BC Cancer was the first in Western Canada to purchase new HALO ablation technology for the treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus complicated by dysplasia, a pre-cancerous or early cancerous condition affecting the lining of the esophagus.
  • BC Cancer is participating in the first health research project involving 40,000 people ever conducted in this province; the largest study ever. The BC Generations Project is part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow, a 30-year pan-Canadian study to collect health information and biological samples from 300,000 Canadians to help researchers learn more about how environmental exposures, lifestyle and genetic makeup contribute to the development of cancer and other chronic diseases. 
  • PHSA and BC Cancer built the first integrated hospital and cancer centre using the public private partnership model - on time and on budget ($355 million). BC Cancer’s Abbotsford Centre was the fifth regional cancer centre to open in the province and represented a critical expansion of the provincial cancer control network. 

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