Targeting Precision Medicine to Better Prevent and Detect Cancer
Cancer continues to be the leading cause of illness and death in Canada, largely because people are still sometimes diagnosed in the late stages of the disease. In addition, childhood cancers shorten lives and reduce children’s quality of life. We urgently need better ways to screen, diagnosis and treat cancers earlier and more effectively.
Dr. Rayjean Hung, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Molecular Epidemiology, has built her career around understanding cancer prevention. An internationally recognized leader in the study of the causes, distribution and control of cancer, Hung combines high-quality data collection, innovative methods and extensive collaborations to tackle some of the most pressing public health issues.
Hung’s overall goal is to reduce cancer incidence and death. She is investigating the full cancer continuum—meaning all phases of illness, from diagnosis to the end of life—through the lens of individuals’ genetic and molecular information, including causes, risk prediction and detection.
Specifically, she and her research team are studying the causes and genetic architectures of tumours to build sophisticated models to predict risk and identify populations that should be monitored. Her comprehensive approach looks at individual health, exposure history and molecular profiles to develop tools that can better identify who is at the highest risk for cancer and should have early screening.
Hung’s work is improving our knowledge of why cancers develop and how to better prevent, detect and manage them. Moreover, her discoveries of new, specific genetic and molecular targets for precision medicines are helping to reduce the burden of cancer deaths worldwide.