For Quebec to Leverage the Benefits of the Personalized Health Care Revolution

New Quebec Network for Personalized Health Care will facilitate concerted action to prepare the health ecosystem to the advent of PHC

MONTREAL, QC, April 19, 2013. Today, the Quebec Network for Personalized Health Care (QNPHC) made public its mission of positioning Quebec as a world leader in personalized health care (PHC). The Network will facilitate the concerted action of academic, private and public stakeholders, so that this new predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory approach to health care can be adequately implemented in Quebec. The announcement was made by the new QNPHC Chairman, David Levine.

Two other members of the Board of Directors, Rémi Quirion, Quebec Chief Scientist, and Bernard Prigent, Chairman of the QNPHC Advisory Board, also took part in the announcement.

“With the mapping of the human genome some 10 years ago, we are now at the threshold of a significant shift in medicine, in fact nothing short of a revolution. These discoveries in genomics have paved the way for a new approach to health care, one that has the potential to radically change how we practise medicine and empower citizens in managing their personal health,” said the QNPHC Chairman.

“Personalized health care approaches and technologies are well suited to the challenges of the 21st century, especially when it comes to chronic diseases and aging, two priority health issues for the Quebec population. With PHC, we can aspire to improve the health and quality of life of citizens, while controlling the spiraling costs of health services through the optimal use of our healthcare budgets,” added Mr. Levine.

Personalized health care in Quebec, a promising niche of excellence

This week, Génome Québec and the Quebec government announced an investment of $34.2 million in eight large-scale personalized health care research projects. Mr. Levine took the opportunity to congratulate the Quebec researchers, who fared exceptionally well by securing over 60 percent of the funds available in the Genomics and Personalized Health competition launched in 2012 by Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, bringing the overall investment to $90 million. This amount is in addition to the investment of $21 million in the Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer announced in February 2013. This goes to prove that the niche of excellence in personalized health care is already making major headway in Quebec.

“Due to the unique features of its population and its public healthcare system, research institutes, pool of world-class researchers, innovative biotech companies, productive partnerships with the biopharmaceutical industry and creativity in information and communication technologies, Quebec has what it takes to build the critical mass required to become the “Silicon Valley” of personalized health care,” said Paule De Blois, Executive Director of the QNPHC.

Much remains to be done

As PHC technologies gain momentum, they will raise significant challenges on the social, ethical and economic fronts, such as: How will we assess the clinical relevance and cost/benefit ratio of PHC solutions compared to traditional methods? What framework will ensure individual genetic information is used for health purposes while avoiding lapses in other areas? What will be the best way to provide secure access to citizens’ health records?

For Quebec to adequately prepare for the advent of PHC and leverage the benefits of these new approaches, the stakeholders of the science, innovation and health fields must work in a concerted manner. The role of the QNPHC is precisely to provide a unique focal point and platform to stimulate, enrich and promote ideas, initiatives, practices and policies in personalized health care.

In that regard, the QNPHC submitted a brief to the Quebec government recommending the use of the new National Research and Innovation Policy to support the development and implementation of personalized health care.

About Personalized Health Care

Discoveries and innovations in molecular biology coupled with the huge potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) will give rise to personalized health care (PHC). This new approach will lead the way to a personalized, preventive form of medicine based on the knowledge of individual risk factors for certain diseases. It will also help determine a patient’s likelihood of responding to a given treatment using genetic data and new genomic tests, among others. Today’s therapies have an average efficiency rate of 40 percent, but with PHC, this rate could increase considerably, as we ensure patients receive the treatments that they are more likely to respond to with the fewest side effects. With new technologies, information on a person’s medical history, lifestyle and environment will be easier to access and use, which will improve medical follow-up and foster the active implication of citizens in the management of their personal health.  In other words, PHC has the potential to radically change medical and health management practices.

About the Quebec Network for Personalized Health Care

The Quebec Network for Personalized Health Care (QNPHC) is a not-for-profit organization created in 2011 to promote the development and implementation of personalized health care in Quebec. It provides a focal point and a platform for concerted action and promotion for all stakeholders working in research, development, deployment and management of personalized health care in Quebec with significant benefits for the health of Quebecers, the efficiency of the healthcare system, the sector’s economic growth and research excellence. The QNPHC currently brings together some 40 Quebec organizations, both public and private, as well researchers and opinion leaders.

Media contact and information:

Paule De Blois
Executive Director
Quebec Network for Personalized Health Care
514 987 9383