Therapies for Rare Cancers

Therapies for Rare Cancers

Robson DNA Science Centre Research Priority


Who We Are

The Robson DNA Science Centre (RDSC) is headquartered at the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute, in the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. One of the three core research priorities of the RDSC is the THERAPIES FOR RARE CANCERS (TRaC) program, which is a multi-institutional collaborative project involving researchers from the University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria.

This research supports the translation of fundamental biomedical discoveries towards our vision, which is improved care and outcomes for people experiencing rare forms of cancer.

Why is this work important?

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. It’s estimated nearly 235,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every year, and of those diagnosed, more than 25% will die from the disease. For patients diagnosed with rare types of cancer, the outcome is even worse. Lack of understanding, resources, and therapies all contribute to a much lower survival rate. The TRaC program wants to work to address this need and ultimately provide better outcomes for cancer patients.

What is the Current Need?

New therapies are clearly needed to address the rare cancer crisis in Canada, but the sheer number of cancer subtypes presents a serious challenge for precision medicine. It may be considered impractical to develop drugs for an individual cancer if it presents at low frequency, that being said, we recognize the need for an innovative approach while developing treatment options in order to improve the outcomes for all cancer patients. Our goal is to identify treatments that offer broader coverage without abandoning the need for precision targeting.