Today, patients who are diagnosed with the same cancer may be given different types of treatments based on specific molecular characteristics of their tumours. While precision medicine uses genomic and other molecular profiling to match patients with therapies targeting the specific molecular alterations that drive their cancer, immunotherapies harness the power of the immune system to fight the disease. These approaches have revolutionized the treatment of certain cancers. However, although they can lead to durable responses and even cures for some patients, many other patients do not respond or must discontinue treatment due to unwanted side effects or resistance.
The Montreal Cancer Consortium (MCC) was formed in 2017, linking the major hospitals and cancer research centres in Montreal to address key challenges facing precision medicine and immunotherapy by developing research infrastructure and platforms. Building on the alliance established by the MCC, the QCC was launched in 2019, leveraging the expertise of clinical and biomedical scientists to accelerate the development and implementation of precision medicine and increase access to new therapies through promoting clinical trials. With a wide network of collaborators including the Terry Fox Research Institute, FRQS-Reseau de Recherche sur le Cancer (RRCancer), Oncopole, CTRNet, Exactis Innovation CATALIS and Q-CROC, the QCC has become a leading research consortium of international stature. As a partner of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network, a pan-Canadian initiative led by the Terry Fox Research Institute and Terry Fox Foundation, QCC hospitals and research centres form part of a collaborative framework that will accelerate the implementation of precision medicine across Canada.