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(PRecision Oncology For Young PeopLE)

'Improving the outcomes of young people with cancer, one child at a time'

A Toronto toddler with a brain tumour that recurred after surgery. A little boy from Winnipeg with a rare form of leukemia. A teenager from rural B.C. with osteosarcoma that has spread to her lungs.

These are some of the children, adolescents, and young adults (CAYA) with hard-to-treat cancers that the new pan-Canadian TFRI-funded project PRecision Oncology For Young peopLE (PROFYLE) program wants to help.

Our strategy

The vision for PROFYLE is to bring together Canada’s top researchers and to make the most of our technological and intellectual resources to provide hope to young Canadians with cancer.

TFRI has provided start-up funding for the first phase of PROFYLE. Currently, the team is bringing together the brightest researchers and raising additional fundsto achieve all objectives of this multimillion-dollar project. We are still inviting both additional research and fundraising partners to join us to improve the outcomes of young people with cancer.

Why do we need it?

There has been dramatic improvement in treatments and outcomes for many pediatric cancers over the last three decades. However, for the 20 per cent of young people whose cancers have spread, returned, or are resistant to treatment, outcomes remain grim.

Around 3,700 young Canadians between the ages of 0 to 29 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and more than 700 of them will die from it.

What does the project hope to achieve?

The key objective is to get research centres across Canada together to provide a platform to molecularly profile the tumours of young Canadian cancer patients. PROFYLE seeks to take advantage of the genomic revolution to look at the molecular composition of these cancers.

Molecular profiling is a set of emerging biological tests that looks at an individual's cancer tumour, studying its genetic characteristics and any unique biomarkers. The information gathered will be used to identify and create therapies that are designed to target a specific cancer tumour profile so CAYA patients can enjoy a better quality of life and live longer. 

How might it work?

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  1. Winnipeg - Eight-year-old Jennifer’s cancer returns.
  2. Vancouver - Jennifer's tissue sample is sent for molecular analysis.
  3. Toronto - An expert team is consulted to advise on the best treatment.
  4. Winnipeg - Jennifer's doctors adjust her treatment plan.
  5. Edmonton - Jennifer's samples and medical records are used by PROFYLE researchers to improve future treatments.
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