Ten years on, still going strong
The BC Generations Project recently marked a significant milestone. Ten years ago – on October 14, 2009 – we announced the official launch of recruitment for the largest and most ambitious health research project in British Columbia.
A decade later, we have a lot to celebrate. As part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP), our BC participants account for 29,800 of the more than 330,000 participants from nine provinces who have joined Canada’s largest population health study. This massive collection of data and bio-samples is allowing researchers to investigate how environmental, occupational, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors affect people’s risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Our ultimate goal is to develop new, more effective approaches for preventing the onset of devastating diseases among future generations.
In British Columbia, we are grateful for the ongoing support shown by our participants in all parts of the province. We continue to receive a high response to our requests for additional information from participants, including:
- Residential History Questionnaire – 74% completion rate
- Follow-up Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire – 80% completion rate
- Occupational History Questionnaire – 70% completion rate
Since 2015, 16 research projects accessing our data and bio-samples have been launched; another seven studies have been approved and are set to begin soon. For details, visit bcgenerationsproject.ca/impact.
Thank you for your ongoing support!
A job well done
In Spring 2018, The BC Generation Project launched its Occupational History Questionnaire to collect details from our participants about all the jobs they have held throughout their lifetimes. We’re pleased to report that approximately 70% of our members completed the questionnaire. Thank you so much for your participation!
We’d also like to acknowledge the feedback we received from participants as we worked through the “hiccups” of our new online questionnaire system. Your input and patience were much appreciated.
Research findings: Metabolites in the blood may reflect your healthy behaviours
In the Spring 2018 newsletter, we told you about a study underway to investigate the connection between lifestyle behaviours and metabolites in the blood. Metabolites are small molecules that are either naturally produced by the body during metabolism (digestion or other bodily processes), or in response to external factors.
BC Cancer Scientist Dr. Rachel Murphy accessed blood plasma samples from 1,320 BC Generations Project participants and used nuclear magnetic resonance technology to measure 233 different metabolites. She then compared the metabolic profiles between participants who engaged in healthy behaviours – eating lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy body weight, limiting alcohol and engaging in regular physical activity – and those who did not.
The study found that a number of metabolites differed according to participants’ reported behaviours, including some metabolites that are known to play a role in cancer development.
These findings add to the evidence on how health behaviours impact cancer risk. Dr. Murphy plans to continue this work in the BC Generations Project by studying whether these metabolites are useful for predicting who will develop cancer and improving prevention efforts.
A research goldmine
Dr. Murphy’s study drew from the BC Generations Project’s total store of 26,406 plasma samples available for use in approved research studies. These bio-samples become even more useful for research when they are paired with other health information we have collected from our participants, such as health behaviours and physical measurements.
Project leadership news
After three years as the co-Scientific Director of the BC Generations Project, Dr. Nhu Le (left) has moved on to spend more time on other projects. Dr. Le oversaw the successful collection of occupational history data and was instrumental in implementing the state-of-the-art software for tracking bio-samples. He continues to be involved in the Project as a co-Investigator.
We’re pleased to announce that Dr. Parveen Bhatti (right) has joined this year to lead the project going forward. Dr. Bhatti’s international research program focuses on using molecular markers to understand and reduce occupational and environmental risk factors for cancer, including among nightshift workers and children.
Dr. Trevor Dummer continues as Co-Scientific Director of the BC Generations Project, in addition to his role as Co-Scientific Director of the national Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project.
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