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Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project

Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project

The Partnership’s second five-year mandate and the next phase of implementing Canada’s national cancer strategy began in April 2012. The priorities and initiatives for 2012-2017 are outlined in our strategic plan, Sustaining Action Toward a Shared Vision and in the Priorities section of our website. The information below reflects work to the end of March 2012.  

Unlocking the secrets of what causes cancer and other chronic diseases

With a rigorous design and broad scope, the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project is establishing a large, high-quality “population laboratory” of a size and scale not previously seen in Canada that will help researchers unlock the secrets of what causes cancer and other chronic diseases. The project is made up of five regional studies — the Alberta Tomorrow Project, Atlantic PATH, the BC Generations Project, the Ontario Health Study and Quebec’s CARTaGENE — aiming to recruit tens of thousands of Canadians and track them over decades.

Because the majority of research grants available are awarded for a specific activity and time period, funding to create a long-term resource able to support many different future questions can be more difficult to secure. With support from the Partnership and regional partners this project is building a legacy for future generations of Canadians. There is remarkable potential for this long-term, large-scale study to answer fundamental questions about the causes of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Data from the project is aligned with information collected in population studies from around the world through the Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G), a consortium that provides the international population genomics community with access to expertise, innovative tools and up-to-date information on harmonization of large data sets across different cohort studies. The collection of baseline and ongoing data and biological samples will result in a database and bio-repository that will serve as rich resources for researchers and provide an unprecedented platform to detect patterns in cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It will also support new research that will enhance the richness and international scientific value of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project.

Results for 2011/12:

  • More than 200,000 participants had been recruited as of March 2012. Bio-samples have been collected from 61 per cent of participants. Progress continues toward the creation of a national data and bio-sample repository that will allow researchers access to this robust population library.
  • A program was developed and piloted by the Ontario Health Study that gave participants the opportunity to receive Air Miles or a gift card from a selection of retailers upon completion of the baseline health and lifestyle questionnaire. Following the success of this program, other regional studies are exploring similar incentive programs to complement their ongoing recruitment efforts.
  • Additional investments were made to support proven recruitment strategies for the BC Generations Project and Atlantic PATH. The Partnership also conducted a series of focus groups and market research surveys, which helped inform recruitment strategies and awareness-raising campaigns.
  • The Project launched a new website, partnershipfortomorrow.ca, in January 2012, giving more Canadians the opportunity to learn about the initiative and directing them to the regional studies, where they can learn more about the local projects and have an opportunity to sign up to participate.
  • New collaborations with Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will allow the broader research community to draw upon and contribute to data collected through the project. Results of such research will enrich the breadth of scientific studies that the project can support in the future and will also deepen the information available through the project as its warehouse of data is continually enriched.
  • In 2011/12 the study was expanded to include cardiovascular research and a call for proposals was issued to the Canadian scientific community to obtain submissions to conduct research on risk factors relating to this area of disease.

For more information on this initiative’s results leading up to 2012 and how the work supports the overall cancer control strategy, please read Key Achievements 2007-2012 and see our annual reports and progress reports