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The BC Generations Project

September 22, 2011

When it comes to learning about the causes of disease, the BC Generations Project will be a phenomenal asset. The project will help researchers learn more about how your environment, lifestyle and genes contribute to cancer and chronic diseases. Our project is part of a national initiative (the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow) to collect health information and biological samples from Canadians across the country to support future research studies that will use this massive collection of data.

Participating in the study is like filling a time capsule — today’s data will be used many years in the future to understand what contributes to health or disease. Unfortunately, it takes this time for patterns and trends to be identified in the data. So, the BC Generations Project is really about building a resource for the benefit of future generations.

The Project is now enrolling tens of thousands of people across B.C. Studying this many participants at once creates a massive amount of data to be analyzed; and it will take teams of researchers, epidemiologists, statisticians, oncologists, pathologists, geneticists and others to understand and interpret the data.

Anyone between the ages of 35 and 69 can participate. Participants can join by simply filling out a questionnaire and giving a blood and urine sample, or by also visiting one of our assessment centres. At the assessment centre, participants’ physical measures such blood pressure, bone density, and body fat is assessed. We have an ongoing assessment centre in Vancouver that participants can attend.

BC Cancer Foundation donors have kindly stepped in and generously provided additional funding that has enabled us to run these centres around the province. We have run successful assessment centres in Kelowna, Prince George and most recently, Coquitlam. In October, we will open an assessment centre in Victoria. In the future, we hope to run centres in other areas around the province.

The amazing response we have had by people across British Columbia means we will be better equipped to identify the causes of cancer and chronic diseases and to predict who is going to get these diseases in the future. My team and I are very grateful for the support from British Columbians across the province, both by donating to the BC Cancer Foundation and by participating.