Personalized Cancer Radiotherapy

Developing a blood test for individualized radiotherapy risks

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 40 per cent of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Currently, half of Canada’s cancer patients receive radiotherapy. While radiation produces effective cures for cancer, it can also damage nearby healthy tissues. To reduce risks, radiation doses are currently constrained to avoid severe damage, but for more than 95 per cent of patients, increased radiation doses may possibly increase the effectiveness of the treatment. This cluster’s aim is to develop a pre-treatment blood test for radiotherapy that, when combined with information about individual traits (age, gender) and radiation dose, could provide more specific information on patients’ genetic risk of radiotherapy side effects. The cluster will also listen and learn from cancer patients to determine patient buy-in and investigate the potential economic implications of having such a test available as part of the provincial health care system.



Christina Haston