Over two million dollars of support has helped to create
one of the world's most successful tissue-based biomarker laboratories

VANCOUVER, April 14 /CNW/ - The Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre (GPEC) has produced some of the most significant and groundbreaking oncology research in Canada. To celebrate these achievements, sanofi-aventis is proud to announce that the support they have provided to the lab over time has now surpassed two million dollars and has changed the way that cancer patients are diagnosed and treated in Canada and globally.

Developed in late 2001, GPEC is a collaborative research venture of the Pathology Department at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), the Vancouver Prostate Centre at VGH, and the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA). GPEC is supported through an unrestricted research grant from sanofi-aventis in Canada.

"GPEC researchers are pushing forward practical innovation with an emphasis on translational research and quality assurance for clinical genetic testing. This ensures scientific advancements are applied directly to patient care and improve the quality of that care," said Stan Glezer, VP Medical, sanofi-aventis Canada Inc. "At sanofi-aventis, we are committed to continuing the fight against cancer by attacking it on all fronts. The research conducted by GPEC makes a difference in the lives of patients and their families and we are proud to be a part of this patient focused initiative."

Under the leadership of Dr. Blake Gilks, Dr. David Huntsman and Dr. Torsten Nielsen, GPEC is responsible for a number of important cancer related initiatives, including a Canada-wide quality assurance initiative that provides a measurement of accuracy in lab testing where there was none previously. This helps labs across the country do a better job serving the needs of patients and improves the ability of oncologists to find the best treatment for each cancer patient. In addition, GPEC is leading an international study to look into the introduction of additional markers for breast and other cancers to be used in everyday clinical practice, above and beyond estrogen and progesterone receptors and HER2. The lab has generated more than 250 publications over the past 10 years.

"We are greatly appreciative of sanofi-aventis' continued support as it has helped to make GPEC one of the world's most successful tissue-based biomarker laboratories," said Dr. David Huntsman, Medical Director, Centre for Translational and Applied Genomics, BC Cancer Agency. "Many of GPEC's accomplishments would not have occurred without the commitment sanofi-aventis has shown to cancer research."

GPEC is uniquely positioned as a cancer research organization due to their state-of-the-art genetic analytical platform that is linked to the province's tissue sample biobank and patient treatment/outcomes data that is made available through the BCCA population based cancer management program. The support provided by sanofi-aventis to GPEC has changed the way multiple cancers are diagnosed and managed in Canada and gives the lab the opportunity to rapidly engage in a broad range of projects. The funding also provides a number of trainees with research opportunities and allows them to progress as new collaborators and GPEC team leaders.

About the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Center (GPEC)
The Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre (GPEC) is a laboratory specialized in the assessment of novel cancer biomarkers by means of tissue microarray technology. The Centre was founded in 2001 and is a collaborative research venture of the Prostate Research Centre at the Vancouver General Hospital, the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) and the BC Cancer Agency. GPEC is Canada's top tissue-based research centre and is one of the world's leading centres in its field. The laboratory's ultimate goal is improved patient outcomes, brought about by personalized cancer treatments through molecular subclassification of tumours using biomarkers. For more information, please visit:

About sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Sanofi-aventis is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada's biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

For more information, please visit:

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: The photo accompanying this release is also available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE sanofi-aventis

For further information:

or to coordinate an interview with Stan Glezer, Dr. Blake Gilks, Dr. David Huntsman or Dr. Torsten Nielsen, please contact:

Jennifer Ouellette
Mansfield Communications
416-599-0024, ext. 240

Joanne Kennedy
Sanofi-aventis Canada Inc.
514 -235-4380

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