With cancer now the leading cause of death in Canada, the need for innovation in oncology has never been greater. The latest statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society reveal that 220,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease this year – the equivalent of 25 people every hour – and an increase of almost 7% since 2017, emphasizing the continued importance of new approaches to managing cancer and improving patient experiences.
For the 1 in 2 Canadians who will develop cancer in their lifetime, the good news is that treatment options have evolved from the mainstays of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and now include more personalized approaches to medicines, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapies. Yet, despite recent progress in treatment options, there are moments in every cancer story that deserve critical thinking and a chance to be rewritten.
Launched in 2017, Roche’s Rewrite Cancer Innovation Challenge seeks to address this very issue by bringing together the brightest minds from across the oncology community to devise possible solutions to common issues faced by patients, physicians and advocacy groups to help advance cancer care.
Now in its second year, this year’s Challenge built on the successes of our inaugural year to address the question of how to improve awareness and availability of genomic testing in community care and rural settings to ensure patients receive the most appropriate treatment for their cancer. Our challenge statement was both reflective of how approaches in cancer care have moved on from last year, particularly in relation to advancements in genomic profiling and specific tumour biomarkers, while also recognizing the emerging issue of geographic disparities in timely access to testing.
The Year 2 Challenge received submissions which ranged in focus from educational apps on lung biomarkers, to genomic profiling awareness initiatives for patients, and even included proposed campaigns to educate patients and inform health policy.
Our esteemed steering committee, formed from a select group of professionals from across the oncology community, carefully evaluated all submissions and – after much consideration – our winners were selected.
Congratulations to the winning teams from Saint John Regional Hospital and BC Cancer who were behind these submissions, and with whom we will begin work to help bring their ideas to life. More details about their winning ideas can be found below.
We look forward to launching the Year 3 Rewrite Cancer Innovation Challenge later this year. You can sign up to receive updates and notification of when the Challenge launches on the Rewrite Cancer website.
Together we can strive to create change for a better future for cancer care. Thank you to everyone who participated!
November 19, 2019