Anthracyclines are one of the most effective and widely-used treatments for childhood and adult cancer; however, they also carry the risk of life-threatening heart failure in 6-16% of patients. Another cancer drug, cisplatin, is a highly effective treatment of childhood and adult solid tumours. Unfortunately, 40-60% of pediatric cancer patients develop irreversible hearing loss when prescribed this drug.
The Ross Lab has conducted extensive research on the genetic basis of ADRs caused by these anti-cancer drugs. In collaboration with UBC researcher Dr. Bruce Carleton, Dr. Ross has initiated a pilot pharmacogenetic testing program for pediatric cancer patients in British Columbia. The aim is to use genomic testing to identify those patients most at risk for a serious ADR and offer clinicians important information for making appropriate treatment decisions.