The new Myeloma Canada Chair that was established today will be led by Dr. Richard LeBlanc, Professor of Medicine at Université de Montréal and medical hematologist and oncologist at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. The research unit aims to improve patient care by advancing clinical research and basic research and by creating tools to further inform this research. Multiple myeloma is a hematological cancer and approximately 2,300 people in Canada are diagnosed with it each year.
The Université de Montréal Myeloma Canada Chair on multiple myeloma at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont was launched in the presence of Dr. Guy Breton, Rector of Université de Montréal, Dr. Hélène Boisjoly, Dean of the university's Faculty of Medicine, Manon Boily, Executive Director of Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, John Lemieux, Cofounder and President of Myeloma Canada, Kevin Leshuk, Vice-President and General Manager of Celgene Inc., Dr. Richard LeBlanc, Chair Holder, Lucie Drapeau, Executive Director of the HMR Foundation, and donors who supported the creation of the Chair.
Quebec's greatest concentration of multiple myeloma expertise is at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont: treatment, clinical research, and teaching are already well established there. It's moreover a priority area for the hospital's Department of Hematology-Oncology, the Banque de cellules leucémiques du Québec, the HMR Research Centre, and the Institut de recherche en immunologie et cancérologie (IRIC) at Université de Montréal.
“I would like to thank the donors who are contributing to new scientific and clinical advances through their tangible support of our researchers,” said Dr. Breton, Rector of Université de Montréal. “I commend the work of researchers, who establish ever more rapid links between basic knowledge and its translation into new treatments for patients. Our university is proud to bring together researchers, clinicians and philanthropists for the benefit of patients.”
“We welcome the new Chair proudly," said Manon Boily, Executive Director of Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. “With Dr. Richard LeBlanc at its head, the multiple myeloma unit will enhance the field of cancer research at the HMR, one of our areas of excellence. I join with our team to wish him every success in his work. I wish to acknowledge the tireless work of the HMR Foundation, which has raised some $2 million from generous donors to fund this new chair, including a contribution of $250,000 from the Foundation directly. Their contribution to major projects at the HMR is crucial.”
The Chair will be lead by Dr. Richard LeBlanc, a medical hematologist and oncologist at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. Dr. LeBlanc has been involved in caring for patients with multiple myeloma, teaching about plasma cell dyscrasia, and stimulating research on multiple myeloma at the hospital since 2009. He leads the Myeloma Cell Bank at HMR, which is affiliated with the Banque de cellules du Québec. He is Medical Director of the Immunology Laboratory at HMR and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Myeloma Canada.
“Myeloma Canada is honoured to partner with Université de Montréal, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont and the other donor partners in the creation of the Myeloma Canada Chair in research into multiple myeloma," said John Lemieux, Co-Founder and President of Myeloma Canada. "The opportunity to take a lead role as a member of the Chair's Management Committee will ensure that the Chair's focus on clinical and basic research will complement our core mission to improve patient outcomes for the myeloma patient community throughout Canada. We are particularly pleased that Dr. Richard LeBlanc, a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, will be the first Chair-holder."
“This is an important investment for Celgene, representing our ongoing commitment to advancing care for myeloma patients in addition to both attracting and supporting research at Canada's top institutions,” added Kevin Leshuk, Vice-President and General Manager of Celgene Inc. “This research has enormous potential to make a difference in the lives of myeloma patients and we are honoured to be part of it.”
For further information:
Events and Communications Director
Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont Foundation
Tel: 514 252-3435
International Press Attaché
Université de Montréal
About Université de Montréal
Université de Montréal was founded in 1878, and with over 60,000 students (including its affiliates École Polytechnique and HEC Montréal), it is the largest university in Quebec and the third largest in Canada. The university is considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan institutions in the country, as over 7,000 of its students come from abroad. Université de Montréal awards over 11,000 qualifications every year. Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, Université de Montréal is one of the greatest universities in the French-speaking world.
About the HMR Foundation
As one of its key partners, the HMR Foundation supports the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, a centre affiliated with the Université de Montréal, in its strategic development orientations in order to respond more effectively to patient needs. Every year, thanks to fundraising campaigns and original fund development activities, the HMR Foundation raises over 10 million dollars that it dedicates entirely to structuring projects. In collaboration with partners, donors and private and corporate foundations, the HMR Foundation makes a positive difference in the life of its patients. Every Action Counts! Information: www.fondationhmr.ca
About Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont
Affiliated with Université de Montréal, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont is a major institution bringing together care, teaching, and medical research. Its 5,500 employees and physicians work with the population of Greater Montreal and beyond since the hospital has a supra-regional role. The HMR includes a world-class research centre. Three areas distinguish it nationally and internationally: vision health, hematology-oncology, and nephrology. Each year, it receives more than 4,000 students, future doctors, nurses, and health professionals. For more information: www.maisonneuve-rosemont.org
Activities and objectives of the Chair
Multiple myeloma affects approximately five persons per 100,000 inhabitants per year – it is the most common blood cancer after lymphoma (lymph node cancer). The disease is practically impossible to cure except in rare exceptions using allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Survival time is five to seven years after diagnosis, and treatment has become particularly complex in recent years.
The greatest expertise on multiple myeloma in Quebec is at the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR), where more than 50 cases per year are assessed and clinical research is already well established.
Teaching and research in multiple myeloma is a priority for the Department of Hematology-Oncology at the HMR, the Banque de cellules leucémiques du Québec (BCLQ), the HMR Research Centre, and the Institut de recherche en immunologie et cancérologie (IRIC). The HMR and Université de Montréal have five major areas for studying and treating this cancer:
- a multidisciplinary clinical team (doctors, nurses, archivist, laboratory staff) working within a specialized clinic established for several years
- a fellowship program in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
- the BCLQ for collecting marrow specimens of patients with myeloma
- the Centre de recherche at the HMR with, among others, the Centre d'excellence en thérapie cellulaire for developing new treatments involving auto- and allografts through its expertise in basic, translational, and clinical research.
- close collaboration with the IRIC.
The Chair has the following objectives:
- Create a core of scientists whose priority is to combat multiple myeloma;
- Improve patient care in multiple myeloma through the rapid dissemination of new knowledge to patients and physicians working in community settings in Quebec:
- A) preparation and regular update of a therapeutic guide (Website)
- B) educational sessions and scientific meetings;
- Improve patient care in multiple myeloma through clinical research:
- A) better access to innovative therapeutic protocols
- B) creation of links with the pharmaceutical industry;
- Develop basic research through:
- A) a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of the disease
- B) the design of new treatments through scientific discoveries made at the HMR/IRIC.
- Train the next generation of high-quality medical and scientific professionals.
Dr. Richard LeBlanc
- Hematologist-Oncologist, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont
- Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal
- Incumbent, Myeloma Canada Chair
Richard LeBlanc obtained his medical degree from Université Laval in 1995, completed a specialty in internal medicine in 1998, and received training in hematology until 2000. He then continued on to Boston, where he carried out a fellowship in basic research at the Jerome Lipper Center for Multiple Myeloma, Dana Farber Cancer Institute from 2000 to 2002. In 2004, he completed his training in medical oncology at Université de Montréal. He has published several articles on multiple myeloma, sometimes as first author, in journals such as Blood and Cancer Research. In 2006, he obtained a grant from the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec for a research program on multiple myeloma. In 2009, the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR) recruited him to improve patient care in multiple myeloma and teaching in plasma cell dyscrasia, and to stimulate research on multiple myeloma.
Holder of the Myeloma Canada Chair on multiple myeloma, Dr. LeBlanc also serves as Director of the Myeloma Cell Bank at the HMR, affiliated with the Banque de Cellules Leucémiques du Québec. He is Medical Director of the Immunology Laboratory at the HMR and is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Myeloma Canada.