Our Scientific Program

The infrastructure of the Quebec leukemia cell bank and the expertise of its laboratory specialized in the genetic study of human leukemias are unique in Canada.

The BCLQ collection of well-characterized and clinically annotated specimens of malignant hemopathies represents an essential research tool.

Researchers involved in this project already have several local and international collaborations to their credit. The cell bank provides a research infrastructure that enables them to promote these collaborations, improve their competitiveness and pursue even further their research in the areas of:

  1. Molecular mechanisms involved in leukemogenesis and resistance to leukemia treatments
  2. Development of novel diagnostic and prognostic tools for leukemia
  3. Discovery of new approaches for treating leukemia, including chemical molecules and immunotherapy

The BCLQ is at the core of a major genomic and personalized medicine program for acute leukemia : The Leucegene Project, grouping together researchers from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) and Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR) affiliated with Université de Montréal, and from other research institutes affiliated to Université Laval and McGill.

Blood tumors studied include acute leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, myelomas, and lymphoproliferative diseases. These specimens are collected and cryopreserved in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures of the CTRNet. They are characterized by morphology, immunophenotyping (flow cytometry), and standard and molecular cytogenetics (FISH, spectral karyotyping /SKY).

A banking program for pediatric acute myeloid leukemia samples started in 2010 with a grant from the Cole Foundation.

The normal DNA extracted from buccal swabs or saliva is preserved for the majority of samples stored in the bank. A report of the tests performed at the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank laboratory is prepared for the treating hematologist, provided the patient has given his/her consent. Annually, the cell bank receives 150 to 200 specimens of malignant blood diseases from ten university and regional hospitals.

Data including laboratory tests and clinical parameters for each sample is indexed in a computerized databank. The programming of the clinical databank was carried out in collaboration with Le Groupe d’étude en oncologie du Québec.

The Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank is open to hematology and cytogenetics technicians, graduate students, hematology and genetics residents, and post doctoral students, interested in studying malignant blood diseases.