Oncopole, a unique co-creation of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) made possible by an initial investment of $15 million from Merck Canada, has developed the Priorité patient grant program in partnership with the FRQS, the Unité de soutien à la stratégie de recherche axée au patient (SRAP) du Québec, and with the collaboration of the Programme québécois de cancérologie (PQC) of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. Oncopole is proud to announce the winners of the Patient First competition. Four research projects, aimed at improving the care and service trajectory of oncology patients in Quebec, benefit from a substantial 2-year budget. The initial competition budget allowed for the funding of at least three projects. An additional contribution from GSK completed the financing of a fourth project, bringing thetotal investment to $800,000.
The Patient Priority competition
Patient Priority to fund research projects aimed at improving the experience of care and services, as well as the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. It is increasingly recognized that patients provide substantial and relevant information about the challenges they face throughout their oncology care trajectory. The program has been built with a view to engaging patients directly . The research themes addressed in this competition stem from consultations with Oncopole’s patient-partner committee; the evaluation committee is made up in part of patients; and each project team includes at least one patient or caregiver involved in the project from conception to completion, as well as a health or social services professional who works directly with patients and their families.
In addition, in collaboration with the Quebec PARS Support Unit, training and coaching were offered to teams to ensure they had the tools they needed to integrate patients into the definition and execution of their research project. Dr Alain Vanasse, Scientific Director of the Unité de soutien SRAP du Québec, is delighted with this initiative: “Engaging patients in the research process is essential to improving care trajectories and practices. The projects submitted to the Patient First competition perfectly embody the idea of making patients proactive partners who participate in shaping health research and, thus, health care.”
The projects funded will equip health and social services professionals, managers, decision-makers and community groups to implement new practices for the benefit of users.
A committee of care and social service experts and patients rigorously evaluated the projects and selected those that best met their needs.
Combating procedural pain in pediatric oncology with communication strategies: a pilot study of Rel@x training.
[Serge Sultan, PhD, Researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, Full Professor, Departments of Psychology/Pediatrics, Université de Montréal, Psycho-Oncology Center
and David Ogez, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Psychologist at the Pain Management Clinic, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Head of the Scientific Committee and representative of the Psychologists of the Société Québécoise d’Hypnose].
The research team will be launching two projects around a training program called Rel@x. It focuses on the use of hypnotic communication when performing painful procedures on patients, and is aimed at nurses. These studies aim to evaluate the acquisition and maintenance of communication skills by healthcare professionals and the impact on patients in real-life situations in pediatric hematology-oncology clinics. Training and optimal use of these techniques could lead to a significant reduction in pain and distress in children being treated for cancer.
Integrating the Health Talks web tool into the radiation oncology care trajectory for prostate cancer patients
[Dr. Marie-Thérèse Lussier, MD, BSc, MSc, FCFP, Full Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Director of the RRSPUM CISSS Laval
and Dr. Marie-Andrée Fortin, MD, FRCPC, Chief of Radiation Oncology and Co-Medical Manager in Oncology, Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de Laval Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine – Université de Montréal]
The Discutons Santé (DS) website(www.discutonssante.ca) offers several tools to help patients communicate with healthcare professionals and prepare for medical consultations. This site has been set up to make up for the lack of communication and tools available to people affected by cancer. In particular, the study proposes to identify barriers and facilitators to the introduction of DS into the care trajectory of prostate cancer patients. This is the most common cancer among Canadian men. The initiative targets three radiation oncology centers in Quebec, and will outline the project’s potential provincial scope.
OncoBuddy and OncoConseil – A research project to integrate peer support and peer counselling into the Opal patient portal
[John Kildea, PhD, Medical Physicist, Assistant Professor, Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology, McGill University and Tarek Hijal, MD, Head, Division of Radiation Oncology, McGill University Health Centre].
New cancer patients and their caregivers face many psychological, logistical and medical challenges. Peers, i.e. people who have already lived through such circumstances, can provide empathetic support and help reduce cancer-related anxiety by sharing their experience. In this project, the research team will use artificial intelligence to improve the availability and effectiveness of peer support in Quebec by matching patients and peers using the Opal patient portal application (opalmedapps.com).
Development and evaluation of an electronic communication program to improve quality of life and survival in patients in remission from cancer
[Sylvie Lambert, PhD, Associate Professor, McGill University and St Mary’s Research Centre
and Rosana Faria, Clinical Psychologist in Oncology, CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’île-de-Montréal, St Mary’s Hospital Center].
The research project aims to develop and evaluate a new screening program for symptoms following cancer treatment called e-IMPAQc (after cancer) delivered using the Opal mobile application. This communication platform will enable cancer survivors and their caregivers to facilitate continuity of care, improve screening and management of the long-term and late effects of cancer, and direct them to the right treatment and support at the right time. The ultimate goal is to improve their quality of life and survival.
“With Patient Priority, Oncopole is proud to support projects that look after the interests of oncology patients. I would particularly like to thank all the patients and their caregivers for their remarkable involvement in running the program, as well as our invaluable partners. I would also like to highlight the excellence of the winning projects, which hold great promise for improving the care and service trajectory of cancer patients”, says Renaldo Battista, Director General of Oncopole.
Oncopole is a Quebec research, development and investment cluster dedicated to accelerating the fight against cancer. Created in February 2017, it is the result of a unique co-creation process by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) made possible by an initial investment of $15 million from Merck Canada. Oncopole’s mission is to act as a catalyst for the actions of Quebec’s oncology research and innovation ecosystem. The aim is to position the province as a leader in this field. Its priorities for action – research, entrepreneurship, commercialization and integration of innovation, and clinical relevance – are orchestrated with the aim of mobilizing stakeholders, discovering innovative approaches to the fight against cancer and, ultimately, generating positive spin-offs for the benefit of patients.
About the Quebec PARS Support Unit
Quebec’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit facilitates, strengthens and develops patient-oriented research (PAR). It’s part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) national patient-oriented research strategy. It supports the integration of research findings with and for patients into clinical and organizational practices, with the aim of improving the experience and health of the population, by providing mentoring, consulting, training, scholarships, organizing scientific events, offering support and developing tools. For more details or to request a service, visit unitesoutiensrapqc.ca.