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Using OHS Data for Research

With 225,000 participants, the Ontario Health Study (OHS) is a rich resource for researchers investigating cancer and other chronic diseases. Researchers can now apply for access to de-identified data and biospecimens collected by the Study.
 

Approved OHS Research Applications 2012-2021

  • Applications using OHS data: 58*
  • Applications investigating cancer: 23
  • Applications requesting biosamples: 7
  • Datasets requested: 56
  • ICES data linkage required: 19
  • Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) linkage required: 8
  • Time to project approval (from a fully-complete application): ~60 days

*Includes 17 applications to use OHS data via CanPath

Here’s what you need to know about using OHS data for research:

  • Collaboration amongst researchers is strongly encouraged to maximize the access to and use of Study data and biosamples.
  • Access is time-limited and for approved analyses only.
  • Proposals will be accepted for access to:
    – Questionnaire data
    – Physical measures
    – Biorepository materials
  • OHS data can be linked with datasets through data custodians such as ICES and Cancer Care Ontario.
  • Only de-identified data and biosamples will be provided to investigators.
  • Exclusive access to any data and/or biosamples will not be permitted.
  • Researchers will not receive exclusive access to an analysis or question of interest.

Applications will be reviewed by our Data Access Committee who will consider:

  • Scientific merit of the research project
  • Potential impact on research participants
  • Appropriate use of limited resources

Latest Research Underway Using OHS Data

Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the primary causes of death in Canadian adults and treating these and other illnesses costs the Canadian health care system billions of dollars annually. The researchers using Ontario Health Study data are investigating factors that increase the risk of developing various diseases, as well as what can be done to reduce the chance of developing them. These risk factors may include where people live and work, what they eat, how much they exercise, whether they smoke and other factors that have not yet been identified.

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New funding available for research using OHS data

Aug 8, 2022

A new funding opportunity from the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research (CIHR-ICR) is available and provides up to $500,000 to use provincial data from the OHS, or to use pan-Canadian data from the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath). Up to $100,000 over one year will be awarded for a single grant. The goal of

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CanPath Webinar: Trainee Research: Using Population Cohorts to Enable Early Cancer Detection

Jun 16, 2022

Nicholas Cheng provides an overview of his study on identifying early cancer biomarkers in pre-diagnosis blood samples collected from more than 400 OHS participants. He demonstrates how blood signatures can be used to detect breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers years prior to clinical detection using cfDNA methylation profiles. Kimberly Skead describes her work studying how the interacting

Latest Research Findings Resulting from OHS Data

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OHS data included in multi-study analysis of Canada’s “Omicron tsunami”

Jul 21, 2022

Omicron tsunami: Blood spot samples from thousands of OHS participants were included in a multi-study analysis showing the proportion of Canadians with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 due to infection shot up, from 5.1 per cent just before the Delta variant wave (August, 2021), to 55.7 per cent in the five months after the Omicron wave (May,

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Normal sex and age-specific parameters in a multi-ethnic population: a cardiovascular magnetic resonance study of the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds cohort

Apr 4, 2022

Using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) data from the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Heart and Minds (CAHHM) cohort (of which a subset are OHS and CanPath participants), researchers used this large and diverse group of participants to set reference values for cardiac morphology and function that are specific to age and sex. Read the full paper