A clinical trial at Princess Margaret helped find the right ‘key’ to Janet’s cancer

Two years ago, Janet Popovic was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer, and treated with chemotherapy that her tumors did not respond to. Doctors predicted she had 18 to 24 months to live.  With no other options, her physician recommended that they take advantage of a clinical trial taking place at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. 
 
The trial is called COMPACT (Community Oncology Molecular Profiling in Advanced Cancers Trial), and it is an extension of another trial running at The Princess Margaret called IMPACT.  The expertise in molecular profiling of tumors at The Princess Margaret is being made available to other hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area through COMPACT. A sample of Janet’s tumor was sent to the centre for profiling.
 
The team at The Princess Margaret was able to determine that the largest of Janet’s tumors had a genetic mutation that might respond to a new drug therapy. She began receiving this drug and six weeks later, images confirmed that her tumors had started shrinking.   In 12 weeks, they had shrunk by 85 percent.
 
Thanks to these promising results, Janet was able to take a wonderful trip to Jamaica with her husband—something she thought would never happen two years ago.  She feels healthy and full of life.
 
To-date, more than 2,000 patients like Janet have had their tumors profiled at The Princess Margaret using genetic sequencing techniques. It is helping to match patients with advanced cancer with clinical trials of new drugs that are targeted to the specific mutation in their tumor.
 
Molecular profiling and other new technology are providing physicians with more information about their patients’ cancer, enabling them to recommend treatment that is proven to be more effective for their specific type of cancer—in other words, personalized cancer medicine.
 
Janet thinks of the COMPACT trial as a wonderful tool to find the right key for the right lock.  “You know how your house key won’t work in your neighbour’s lock—and vice versa?  This is similar to cancer.  No two people’s cancers are the same, either.  At The Princess Margaret, they are finding all the intricacies of each ‘lock’ and matching them to the right ‘keys’!
 
 
If you would like to support the IMPACT and COMPACT clinical trials that have made such a positive difference for patients like Janet, please click here.