The Halifax Project was an initiative that took place between 2012 and 2015. It involved 350 scientists and physicians from 31 countries and it was led by the Canadian NGO “Getting to Know Cancer”. 12 teams of researchers in that effort focused on designing a broad-spectrum integrative approach as a way to prevent high-risk cancers, treat refractory cancers and prevent disease relapse. The taskforce published an entire special issue in Seminars in Cancer Biology on this topic along with a landmark capstone paper that showed that the approach should be feasible from a safety standpoint and relatively inexpensive to implement.
Essentially this approach leverages our understanding of the molecular biology of the hallmarks of cancer and it combines this knowledge with the principles of precision medicine and network pharmacology. The goal is to identify as many additional priority targets as possible to provide physicians with complementary, low-toxicity protocols that can be developed dynamically, individualized, and then used to support cancer patients who are already undergoing traditional modes of treatment. To that end, Getting to Know Cancer now has plans to organize the Broadspec Clinical Trials to rigorously assess and report on the merits of this approach. Initially the planned research will consist of an incremental case-series of prophylactic trials for myelodysplastic syndrome patients who are at high risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia along with similarly structured therapeutic trials for advanced-stage ovarian and pancreatic cancer patients.