The Québec government has invested $10 million in the Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer (PMPC), a public-private partnership focused on establishing an integrated approach for the development and implementation of clinical biomarkers and other personalized healthcare solutions to improve the outcome and cost-efficiency of healthcare services provided to cancer patients.
The investment, to be disbursed over a four-year period, will be supplemented with $11.1 million of funding from the private sector partners, for a total project value of $21.1 million.
The PMPC will be under the leadership of Caprion Proteome, a Montreal-based biotech company specializing in the discovery and development of protein-based diagnostic biomarkers. The other partners include the Québec Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC), a multidisciplinary network of clinicians, academic scientists and other members of the medical community involved in clinical and translational cancer research, as well as private partners Oncozyme Pharma, Pfizer Canada, Sanofi Canada and TELUS Health.
As part of the projects supported through this partnership, state-of-the-art genomic, proteomic, bioinformatic and information technology platforms will be implemented to develop and deploy novel biomarkers and targeted therapeutic strategies in the healthcare system for the treatment of lung, colon and breast cancers.
“The sequence of our genome or the profile of the proteins in our blood can be used to accurately predict disease progression or treatment outcome. Our partnership will integrate advanced technology platforms with clinical research to accelerate the development and clinical deployment of novel personalized healthcare solutions. Caprion has pioneered such strategies for years, and with our partners, we are committed to delivering tangible results to provide more targeted diagnosis and treatments for cancer," said Martin LeBlanc, president and CEO of Caprion Proteome.
Personalized medicine has been coined to describe the use of specific patient information gathered from tumour, blood or other specimens to characterize disease subtype and select the optimal treatment.
"The rapid progress in clinical research enables us to decipher the underpinnings of cancer and to develop specific diagnostic tools and targeted drugs to treat specific subtypes of common cancers such as lung, colon or breast. It is critical that these new tools and medicines be deployed for the benefit of patients across Québec," said Gerald Batist, professor of oncology at McGill University and co-director of the Q-CROC. "While technology has been progressing rapidly, it will be critical to prepare our healthcare system to integrate the wealth of new molecular information and educate professionals in the practice of personalized medicine.”
The PMPC project stemmed from the Stratégie québécoise de la recherche et de l'innovation (SQRI) that was created by the Québec government to advance knowledge and accelerate the deployment of innovative personalized medicine solutions to the bedside. The partnership, in collaboration with the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux (MSSS), was also built to strengthen the cooperation between the private and the public research sectors including academic healthcare institutions and universities.