Now 22 years old, Kieren can enjoy cycling, kayaking and curling without pain and is completing a bachelor of science in physics at Thompson Rivers University. Like him, roughly half of the people with synovial sarcoma today can be cured by surgery and radiation because their cancer was detected early enough through the test developed by Dr Nielsen.
The pansarcoma fusion assay test is now regularly used as the first line of testing for sarcomas at VGH and for increasing numbers of referral cases from other Canadian institutions. Thanks to CCS funding, what would have taken 3 to 4 weeks and cost more than $1,000 to test can now be done within 3 days for $300, bringing people living with cancer answers sooner and relieving strain on the healthcare system.
Dr Nielsen and his team are now working on 2 additional tests for other sarcoma types, including one for liposarcomas that has recently been accredited and is now in use at VGH.