"For CARTaGENE to be a success, it must recruit 20,000 people between 40 and 69 years of age." -- Dr. Claude Laberge
CARTaGENE seeks to build a genetic map of Quebec. The following announcement was written by the CARTaGENE Project:
Montreal, May 18th 2009 – The CARTaGENE Project, one of the largest health and genomics projects ever carried out in Quebec, seeks to recruit 20,000 people to participate in Phase A of its wide-ranging study on the determinants of health (lifestyles, genetics, environment and nutrition) of Quebecers.
The resulting resource will consist of a biospecimen bank and a health database. Upon request, the data collected by CARTaGENE will be made available in coded form to researchers who meet the project's scientific and ethical standards. Coded information drawn from government health data will also be available.
CARTaGENE will make possible a wide range of studies that could improve our understanding of health and the origin of disease and, in the medium and long term, allow us to develop more appropriate interventions and more accurate diagnostics and prevention tools.
Potential participants will be randomly selected by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. In the coming days, those selected will begin receiving letters inviting them to participate. Naturally, they are free to accept or decline the invitation. The selection process will continue over several months.
"The success of this project depends upon participant response," said Dr. Claude Laberge, CARTaGENE's scientific director and official spokesperson. "We would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in our pilot project last winter. It is thanks to them that CARTaGENE can begin Phase A of its recruitment drive."
Phase A will start in June 2009. When participants visit a CARTaGENE recruitment site, they will answer a health questionnaire and provide urine and blood samples. A portion of the samples will be analyzed. The remainder will be stored at the Genome Quebec and Centre hospitalier affilié universitaire régional de Chicoutimi Biobank (GQ-CAURC). Qualified and specially-trained nurses will guide them through the process. They will also take physical measurements including height, weight, waist and hip circumference, blood pressure and pulse. Participants will also be invited to assess their experience by filling out a satisfaction questionnaire at home. On average, active participation will take two and a half hours. Participants will also be asked whether they agree to be contacted again, and whether they wish to participate in CARTaGENE's genealogical option, in association with the BALSAC Project, by filling out a questionnaire at home.
"Our objective is to create a public resource for research," according to Dr. Laberge. "We are targeting people between 40 and 69 who live in the greater Montreal, Sherbrooke, Saguenay (Chicoutimi) and Quebec City areas. By reaching our goal of 20,000 participants over the next months, we will have a resource that will give us a good portrait of the Quebec population's health status and genetic diversity."
Coded samples guarantee confidentiality
"We are most proud of the fact that participant confidentiality will be guaranteed through every stage of the project," added Dr. Laberge. "No name, address, telephone or cell phone number, or email address will be stored in the CARTaGENE database. Codes will replace this personal information. Access to coded data and samples will only be provided to researchers who receive necessary approvals from the ethics and scientific committees. At no time will insurance companies or employers be allowed to access CARTaGENE data or samples."
Important travail d’équipe
Many public institutions, organizations and projects are actively involved in the CARTaGENE Project. The Université de Montréal is responsible for the entire project. Financial support for genome research is provided by two public organizations, Genome Canada and Genome Quebec. The Genome Quebec and Centre hospitalier affilié universitaire régional de Chicoutimi Biobank (GQ-CAURC) is responsible for sample storage. The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) is involved in the selection and recruitment of participants. The BALSAC Project of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) will retain genealogical information and keep it confidential.
CARTaGENE has a national scope, thanks to its association with the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP), which has the goal of creating a research resource of 300,000 participants from across Canada.
CARTaGENE also has an international scope as a member of the Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G), which coordinates collaboration between 25 similar projects around the world.
You can read more at http://www.cartagene.qc.ca/index.php?lang=english.