Canada’s largest-ever health data portal opens to global researchers
Unique data set made possible by 300,000 Canadians
June 29, 2015
CALGARY — A landmark research portal that includes health and biological data from 300,000 Canadians – nearly one in every 50 individuals between the ages of 35 and 69 – is being launched today by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
“I would like to congratulate the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project for creating one of the largest, most expansive cancer research databases in the world. This landmark study offers a wealth of information that will be opened to researchers, which could lead to new strategies in the fight against cancer and related chronic diseases,” said Health Minister Rona Ambrose.
“What makes the CPTP portal so valuable and unique is the volume and variety of the information that has been collected,” said Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice President of Cancer Control at the Partnership. “Researchers have access to health and lifestyle surveys, health outcome data and even biological samples like blood and toenail clippings. This lets them approach cancer and chronic disease from new angles, helping them dig deeper than ever before into its potential causes.”
The data can be used to conduct long-term population health studies, which look at people’s health, lifestyle or health risks. As study participants age, some may develop diseases such as cancer or heart disease. Researchers can then look back at their health data to search for factors that are linked to disease onset. These types of studies have pinpointed links between smoking and lung cancer, for example.
CPTP will accelerate research, improve the competitiveness of Canadian research and provide opportunities for made-in-Canada discoveries.
In addition, the platform’s wealth of information has been collected in a way that researchers worldwide can apply CPTP data to their own work or combine CPTP data with other global cohorts, allowing them to delve into rare cancers and chronic diseases as well.
“Given the complexity of cancer, we must study huge numbers of willing participants over a long period of time to uncover meaningful information about its risk factors. Thankfully, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have come forward to share their health information in hopes of unlocking the mystery of why some people develop cancer or other chronic diseases,” said Dr. Paula Robson, Scientific Director at the Alberta Tomorrow Project, which is one of five provincial partners involved in CPTP.
CPTP is designed to track participants for 20 to 30 years, giving researchers even more data for their vital work.
More information on CPTP and its coordinating partners, the data and how the platform can be accessed is available at www.partnershipfortomorrow.ca.
About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer works with Canada’s cancer community to reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians. Grounded in and informed by the experiences of those affected by cancer, the organization works with partners to support multi-jurisdictional uptake of evidence that will help to optimize cancer control planning and drive improvements in quality of practice across Canada. Through sustained effort and a focus on the cancer continuum, the organization supports the work of the collective cancer community in achieving long-term population outcomes: reduced incidence of cancer, less likelihood of Canadians dying from cancer, and an enhanced quality of life of those affected by cancer.
About the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project
The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP) is Canada’s largest population health research platform. It contains a wealth of data from more than 300,000 Canadians aged 35-69 who have volunteered to share information about their health, lifestyle, environment and behaviour. Nearly half of participants have also provided a biological sample. CPTP aims to create a legacy that will benefit both current and future generations by strengthening population research in Canada to unlock the answers to why some people develop cancer and chronic diseases while others do not.