Announcement of the winners of the Priorité patient 2022 Competition – Investing in the transformation of cancer care and services in Quebec
Announcement of the winners of the Priorité patient 2022 Competition – Investing in the transformation of cancer care and services in Quebec

13 June 2022

Patient partners are at the heart of the four research projects selected for the 2nd edition of the “Priorité patient” competition organized by Oncopole – the cancer division of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). This competition provides financial support for research projects aimed at improving the care and services for people living with cancer in Quebec.

The announcement comes during the BIO International Convention, which takes place from June 13 to 16 in San Diego, and is attended by representatives from Oncopole, FRQS cancer division, the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI), the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), and Merck Canada. The four teams will each receive $200,000 over two years from Oncopole, thanks to the financial support of the MEI and its founding partner, Merck Canada.

The common thread among these innovative projects, is that each research team includes patient partners who are involved throughout the entire process; from the design of the project to its implementation in a clinical setting, as well as its evaluation with a view to extending its scope to other health care centres in Quebec. This competition is carried out in collaboration with the Unité de soutien au système de santé apprenant (SSA) Québec and the Programme québécois de cancérologie of the MSSS.

Recipients of Oncopole’s “Priorité patient” Competition

PAROLE-Onco +: Peer companions to improve the experience of patients living with cancer

The context of the pandemic has highlighted the lack of emotional support for people affected by cancer. To better address this need, the PAROLE-Onco + project will pair patients with peer companions – people who have lived with cancer – to support them and share their knowledge throughout their journey of care and health services.

Led by Marie-Pascale Pomey of the School of Public Health at the Université de Montréal, the PAROLE-Onco + project will test a proven model of peer support with adults and children living with different types of cancer (prostate, thyroid, gynecological, colorectal, lung, hemato-oncology, and breast) in regional and urban settings within different structures (CHU, CISSS, CIUSSS).

In addition to Ms. Pomey, the team is composed of 23 co-investigators, including seven patient partners, from the Université de Montréal, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke and HEC Montréal.

eG2 intervention: Virtual speech-language pathology and patient-guided swallowing group-based intervention

Chemoradiotherapy treatments are known to produce significant side effects in people treated for head and neck cancer often leading to swallowing disorders or dysphagia. Led by Marie-Eve Caty of the Department of Speech-Language pathology at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Intervention eG2 will evaluate the benefits of a virtual group speech therapy intervention model to prevent swallowing disorders in patients treated with chemoradiotherapy in a specialized care setting.

Part group therapy, part support group, this telehealth approach allows patients to participate in weekly meetings facilitated by a speech-language pathologist with a patient partner to support them in preventing complications related to dysphagia and thus improve their quality of life and quality of care.

This project is conducted in collaboration with eight co-investigators, including a patient partner, affiliated with the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM).

Virtual reality and hypnosis to support patients with multiple myeloma

Inspired by a growing body of research, David Ogez of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the Université de Montréal, has developed a new support approach that combines virtual reality and hypnosis. Developed by clinicians, researchers, digital artists and patient partners in remission from cancer, this new program will be validated with patients suffering from multiple myeloma, one of the most aggressive hematological cancers with the most adverse effects of treatment.

In this research initiative, each patient will be accompanied by an avatar to provide an individualized experience that distracts patients from the negative emotions and physical discomforts they experience during stem cell transplantation.

David Ogez’s research team is composed of eleven co-investigators including two patient partners affiliated with the Université de Montréal.

The VIE-Qc program: Towards integrated interventions for pediatric oncology patients and their families

Survivors of childhood cancer are at greater risk of developing major health problems in adulthood, including
cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. In response, researcher Valérie Marcil of the Department of Nutrition at the Université de Montréal has created a personalized program of early interventions involving nutrition, physical activity and psychosocial support for newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients.

This “toolkit” is intended for children treated in oncology and their families, and is also used to train health professionals to facilitate the development of interventions in other centres.

Valérie Marcil’s research team includes ten co-investigators, including two patient partners, affiliated with the Université de Montréal, Université Laval and the Université de Sherbrooke.

A competition to transform cancer care and services

Thanks to a public-private partnership between the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation and Merck Canada, Oncopole is able to support, through the “Priorité Patient” competition, these four projects that will enable research teams to contribute to the transformation of cancer care and services.

“The research teams were able to draw on the life experiences of people affected by cancer to design and carry out their projects, and we also benefitted from the expertise of our patient partners during the evaluation of the projects to ensure their relevance to the target population,” says Carole Jabet, Director of Oncopole and Scientific Director of the FRQS.

“We are pleased to extend our congratulations to the recipients of the second edition of the Priorité patient competition. As a founding member of Oncopole, Merck Canada is extremely proud to continue year after year to support research projects that serve to improve the experience of care and services, as well as the quality of life, for people living with cancer and their families. We are deeply invested in advancing research, as well as in partnerships that address patient unmet needs. This project speaks directly to our commitment to our mission and shared vision: to save and improve lives,” concludes Jennifer Chan, Executive Director, Policy and External Affairs, Merck Canada Inc.