Life Sciences
Major international breakthroughs

Photo of a lab scientist working with DNAQuébec has earned a reputation as a centre of excellence in the life sciences: we have made great contributions to biomedical research in many of the fields most relevant to today’s health challenges. Here are some of our researchers’ recent discoveries:


Neuroscience and aging

Dr Judes Poirier, one of the world’s leading experts on treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and Vassilios Papadopoulos, Director of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, have developed a reliable, inexpensive diagnostic test to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The blood test uses oxidation and measures the amount of DHEA present in the blood. While diagnosing Alzheimer’s remains a complex problem, this test will aid in large-scale identification of potential sufferers.

Chronic pain can be so disruptive that it causes changes in the brain, producing a thinning of the grey matter, which may lead to cognitive disor­ders. McGill University researchers Laura Stone and David Seminowicz have developed an effective treatment to slow these changes and even significantly reverse damage to the frontal lobe of the brain!


Photo of a human stem cellOncologists dream of being able to target cancer cells precisely while sparing healthy cells from exposure to the toxic effects of drugs. That dream will soon be a reality!


The team led by Sylvain Martel, Director of the École Polytechnique de Montréal’s NanoRobotics Laboratory, has developed a technique that uses remote-controlled microcarriers to deliver cancer drugs to the exact site of the tumour.

The multidisciplinary team directed by Guy Sauvageau has made a giant leap forward in stem-cell research by producing large quantities of stem cells in the laboratory. That’s good news for patients waiting for a bone marrow transplant! In fact, all signs indicate that, in a few years, more such operations will be possible. Moreover, this discovery could aid in the treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

Lifestyle diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity)

Photo of a diabetic person taking a blood sugar testBrent Richards and his team have discovered a new genetic marker for coronary heart disease and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Their findings are the result of collabo­rations with international consortiums aimed at identifying the genetic determinants of these conditions.

Genomics and proteomics

Photo of optical fibresResearchers Yves De Koninck of Université Laval and Yoan LeChasseur and Réal Vallée of Centre d’optique, photonique et laser have developed the finest fibre optic in the world.


Their instrument not only illuminates brain cells, it can analyze and even control them! This revolutionary tool is part of a brand new neurological discipline called “optogenetics.”

Personalized medicine


Photo of a doctor taking a patient’s blood pressurePersonalized medicine holds considerable promi­se for the future, and Québec has everything it takes to make that goal a reality:


  • solid capabilities in scientific research, genomics and prote­omics;
  • high-tech research centres;
  • major projects involving tissue banks and databases, including the CARTaGENE project.


Personalized medicine soon to be incorporated into medical and clinical practices

Québec is a forerunner in genomics. In the past five years, more than $450 million have been invested in personalized health care research partnerships by the private sector, as well as the federal and provincial governments.


The Centre of Excellence PreThera Research aims to develop cancer treatments that are increasingly personalized by combining the latest discoveries in cancer biology with new approaches to clinical research.


The Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer is an organization that develops and tests new biomarkers for doctors who treat cancer patients.


The Québec – Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC) is a provincial interface for clinical research, bridging the gap between industry, government, healthcare establis­hments and the research community.


The Québec Network for Personalized Health Care (QNPHC) brings together stakeholders who share an interest or work in personalized health care, including academic researchers, clinicians, private companies (pharmaceutical, biotech­nology, health technologies, insurers, etc.), public organizations, patient groups and opinion leaders.


Contact your expert

Benoît Larouche

Director, Business Development, New York

212 843-0976