Dr. Maxime Chénard-Poirier
THE RIGHT PROTOCOL FOR THE RIGHT PATIENT
Hematologist and Oncologist
CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Center
Energy, expertise and dedication. Dr. Maxime Chénard-Poirier, a young hematologist and medical oncologist recently recruited by the CHU de Quebec-Laval University Hospital to set up a phase I clinical research platform in oncology, is motivated by one thing: offering solutions to patients who have exhausted available therapeutic options.
“During my training, I was struck by the despair of patients, young and old, who had to spend time and money to go to Montreal, Toronto or New York to participate in a phase I protocol. Most people can’t do that… and that’s really what we want to offer [patients] here in Quebec City,” he says.
Born in Quebec City and raised in Trois-Rivières, Dr. Maxime Chénard-Poirier did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London to familiarize himself with phase I clinical trials in oncology, followed by additional training in digestive cancers. In 2018, he returned to his hometown and joined the team at the CHU de Québec to provide the most innovative experimental therapies to patients in the eastern part of the province.
Over the past two years, about ten patients have benefited from seven phase I clinical research programs at the Centre de recherche clinique et évaluative en oncologie (CRCEO) at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval.
“We’re looking for controlled growth, to make sure everything is done just right. It’s important for the development of the drug and even more so for the safety of the patient.”
The CRCEO is enjoying strong growth through the many partnerships it has created with industry. The clinician cited as an example the participation in Fusion Pharmaceuticals’ phase I study, using actinium-225 coupled with an antibody that targets the IGF-1R receptor to deliver radiotherapy directly to cancer cells. “We were able to start quickly and win the trust of our partner,” he says. His group, which also includes Drs. Vincent Castonguay and Olivier Dumas, has participated in phase I and II studies with several large companies such as Merck and BMS, and several researchers are also initiating their own phase I clinical trials.
In his opinion, the CHU de Québec is well positioned to increase early-stage clinical trials in collaboration with industry. “We try to select patients based on specific criteria to increase their chances of responding to experimental treatments. Providing the right protocol, to the right patient, is key,” he explains.
By actively participating in early clinical research, the researcher hopes to make a difference, and perhaps significantly increase survival time for advanced cancer patients. “It would be a big step forward,” he says.