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Features of the Biobank

Why a biobank?

This year alone in Quebec, 4,600 men will learn that they have prostate cancer, and about 880 of them will die. Despite advances in research and the discovery of some risk factors, including age, race, family history and probably lifestyle, it remains unclear which one of these factors is most prevalent. Prostate cancer affects one in seven men.

We also cannot explain why this disease is so aggressive, or how it develops. It can be said that the situation with regard to prostate cancer is similar to that of breast cancer in women.

The causes of prostate cancer remain unknown. While the lack of adequate tools and equipment slows progress, hopes are raised by some spectacular advances in the field of biotechnology. The discovery of the human genome is a huge step forward. Dramatic developments are expected in the understanding of basic biological processes, opening up completely new horizons, especially in oncology. However, such prospects, at least for prostate cancer, will not be fruitful without prospective research being conducted according to standardized procedures on large numbers of men who are at risk or already affected by this disease.

In 2005 PROCURE, the only Quebec-based non-profit organization wholly dedicated to combatting prostate cancer, decided it was time to act and adopted a very ambitious research tool: the PROCURE Biobank for prostate cancer in Quebec.

Quebec is a perfect place to implement such a project because of the genetic traits of its native population and its ethnic diversity. In addition, the relative stability of Quebec’s population means that the project participants can be monitored over a long period. Finally, our province’s long tradition of collaboration and excellence in research guarantees our ability to establish and run a world class biobank.


The PROCURE Biobank has several objectives. The first is to collect and retain various biological samples, namely prostate tissue, blood, urine, DNA and RNA from a determined number of men who undergo prostatectomy.

With their consent, the Biobank also collects clinical and sociodemographic information. Thanks to regular monitoring, biospecimens and their clinical data are added to the Biobank, enhancing its significance and value.

These biospecimens and data will later be made available to the scientific community for major innovative research projects in prostate cancer. The ultimate goal of PROCURE is to ensure that research improves the quality of care for men with prostate cancer.



High quality biospecimens combined with clinical and sociodemographic data on a large number of men with prostate cancer will give fresh impetus to research on this disease.

We may then identify additional risk factors, improve methods of detection, offer better treatment and generally impede the progression of prostate cancer.

This will be made possible thanks to the 2,000 patients who have so far enrolled in the Biobank along with doctors and teams from Quebec’s four university health centres (investigators, pathologists, research associates and assistants, nurses, etc.). The PROCURE Biobank will thus have fulfilled its role.


The PROCURE Biobank relies on partnerships formed since 2007 with four university hospitals in Quebec. It is associated with the Cancer Research Network of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). In 2013, the Biobank formed a partnership with the Cancer Research Society (CRS) – view the press release.

The Biobank is managed by a committee comprised of PROCURE’s board members and executives and three representatives from each university centre (a lead investigator urologist, a researcher and a pathologist as co-investigators).

The Biobank’s management and teams

Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM)

  • Fred Saad, MD, FRCSC
    • Clinical Investigator
      Full Professor and Director, Departement of Surgery, Université de Montréal
      Medical Advisor, Clinical Information Systems, Division of Professional Services, CHUM
  • Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Ph.D.
  • Mathieu Latour, M.D., pathologist

Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHU de Québec)

  • Louis Lacombe, M.D., urologist
  • Alain Bergeron, Ph.D.

Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM)

  • Armen Aprikian, MD, FRCSC
    • Professor and Head of Urology, McGill University
      Chief of the Cancer Care Mission, McGill University Health Centre
      Urologist in Chief, McGill University Health Centre
  • Simone Chevalier, Ph.D.
  • Fadi Brimo, M.D., pathologist

Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS)

  • Michel Carmel, M.D., urologist
  • Alain Piché, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Nadia Ekindi-Ndongo, M.D., pathologist


  • Cédric Bisson, M.D., L.L.B., Chairman of the Board, PROCURE
  • Laurent Proulx, Executive Director of PROCURE
  • Valérie Thibodeau, Director of Operations PROCURE Biobank