Officially launched at the end of October 2015 by Susan McPeak, a breast cancer survivor and Charles Sirois, a renowned entrepreneur and caregiver to his wife, the McPeak-Sirois Group is a voluntary group of Quebec hospitals whose mission is to better fight against breast cancer by increasing patients’ access and participation to clinical trials. In just a few years, this initiative designed, engineered and founded by the McPeak-Sirois family has grown to one of the largest breast cancer clinical research consortiums in Canada.
The strength of our unique Group lies in the willingness of public institutions to pool their strengths, expertise and experience so that valuable best practices based on the latest knowledge in breast cancer are shared within the medical community in Quebec through Research that cares.
With nine member hospitals, our research consortium offers a great potential for patient recruitment across the province. This is very enticing for clinical research sponsors and has resulted in having more trials available to breast cancer patients. In practice, more than twenty clinical trials were started as a consortium in partnership with pharmaceutical companies and international collaborative groups, which means that, to this day, more than 300 patients have been included in clinical trials through our Group.
From 2015, the establishment of common rules of governance and operation has led to a gradual harmonization of clinical research practices among all members of the consortium. It is through this harmonization that they can achieve greater efficiency in their operations, whether it be by reducing the time required to implement a trial, by enhancing communications or by ensuring quality control. Together, we are proud to optimize all the start-up steps of clinical trials to allow faster access to the best available care and innovative treatments for as many patients as possible in Quebec.
It is also important to underline the financial commitment of partners that believe in our mission: by supporting the Programme Accès-recherche, the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation has encouraged an increase in the clinical research offer available in regional hospitals (currently in Estrie, Saguenay Lac-St-Jean or Montérégie). This is how the Group makes it possible for more patients with breast cancer, including those living outside major urban areas, to participate in research trials in Quebec.
To conclude, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to express my appreciation to our members’ clinical teams for their involvement. The progress achieved has a tangible and measurable impact, particularly in terms of patients’ participation in clinical trials. Despite the challenges associated with the pandemic and the slowing down of certain activities, we are continuing our mission, now more than ever, to bring Research that cares closer to patients.