Participants Selected at Random in three Regions - CARTaGENE Begins Large-Scale Research Project on Health and Disease

    MONTREAL, Jan. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - CARTaGENE is a University of Montréal
research project on population genomics. In January, recruitment of
participants begins in three Regions, inaugurating one the largest health
databases in Québec. In the optimization phase of the project, approximately
400 people will be recruited in three Regions of the province, including
Montreal, Monteregie and Eastern Townships.
    The goal of CARTaGENE is to collect data on health from 20,400 Quebecers.
The database will be accessible to researchers who can use the wealth of data
collected to advance our knowledge of health and disease.
    "The genome of each human being contains enormous quantities of
information. The analysis of this information can increase our understanding
of the underlying processes of health and disease. The science of genomics is
devoted to studying genomes and their interaction with environmental factors
that influence our health. CARTaGENE is the largest project to date on the
genome of the population of Québec. The scientific resource being created by
this project is entirely a public sector initiative, financed by Genome Canada
(, Génome Québec ( and the Université
of Montréal (," stated Dr. Claude Laberge, CARTaGENE's
Scientific Director and Professor in Genetics at Laval University.

    Participants Selected at Random

    In January 2008, the first 400 participants in CARTaGENE will be
recruited. These people will be chosen at random from the files of the Régie
de l'assurance-maladie du Québec (Québec Health Insurance Board). They will be
contacted by the Institut de la statistique du Québec (Québec Institute of
Statistics -, a government organization associated with
CARTaGENE on this project. The Institute is responsible for recruitment and
collecting data and samples.
    The people who accept to participate in CARTaGENE will spend two hours
with a registered nurse, who will conduct various physical tests such as an
electrocardiogram and lung capacity. She will also take a blood and a urine
sample. "There is no risk to participating in CARTaGENE. The tests are
conducted by a qualified nurse, and the procedures are supervised by
committees of renowned experts in the field," added Dr. Laberge.

    Confidentiality Ensured

    Once the database and sample banks are set up, the security and
confidentiality procedures will be very strict in terms of protecting the data
collected by CARTaGENE. "It will be impossible for scientists who use these
databases and samples to obtain the identities of participants. Moreover, to
access these data resources, their requests must fulfill stringent ethical and
scientific criteria. Therefore, insurance companies, employers and any other
private individual or organization will not have access to the data," affirms
the principal investigator Bartha Maria Knoppers, professor, Faculty of Law,
Université de Montréal.

    CARTaGENE ( is being conducted under the auspices of
the University of Montréal ( It is financed entirely by
public sector funds. CARTaGENE is a founding member of the international
consortium called the Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G -, which head offices are in Montreal. P3G brings
together 20 biobanks and members from 35 countries.

For further information:

For further information: Dr. Claude Laberge is available for interviews
and will be pleased to answer any questions. Please call Pierre Leduc at (450)
227-2238; Lise Lévesque, Director, Ethics & Communications, (514) 343-7703
ext. 8753, Cell.: (514) 802-8753,

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