Lab Canada

BC cancer biobank registers 10,000 participants

Vancouver, BC – The PREDICT (Personal Response Determinants in Cancer Therapy) program at the BC Cancer Agency says it has registered 10,000 participants.

The program launched as a pilot project in 2006, and was the first of its kind in Canada. New patients are informed of the program at their first appointment. Those who take part give a blood sample before they start treatment and agree to be contacted to participate in future research projects.

PREDICT is more than a typical biobank because of its centre-wide scope which expands the variety of samples collected and because by obtaining permission from patients to be contacted, it allows patients to become partners in future research projects.

It provides a platform to support research and was the only program of its kind in Canada when it launched; now due to its success the model has since been replicated elsewhere in BC. The biobank of blood samples is internationally recognized and used by researchers around the world to help them deepen their understanding of how cancer grows and responds to treatment.

Since the start of the PREDICT program 10 times more patients with cancer in BC have participated in research studies. Because of this, program researchers have also been able to study potential biomarkers of pancreatic and other less common types of cancer, contributing to the improvement of disease diagnosis and treatment. PREDICT has also helped to educate the next generation of health care providers with 75 per cent of the program’s research interns going on to pursue careers in medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, public health and education.

“Our patients are incredibly generous in the way they participate in this program and contribute to cancer research,” says Dr. Peter Watson, principle investigator, PREDICT. “Before PREDICT, contacting the right patient and obtaining the right blood sample was a challenge for cancer researchers and was a bottleneck slowing research progress. PREDICT changes all this; it has for example enabled ground breaking research on immune responses to ovarian cancer to proceed at an exciting pace.”