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Shaping the future: researcher profiles

Dr. Yves Fradet
An instinctive research approach
Dr. Yves Fradet is a world-renowned urology researcher at Quebec City’s Hôtel Dieu hospital research centre. In the ongoing fight against cancer, his team’s discoveries are keeping hope alive.
  • Laval University, Faculty of Medicine. Professor, Surgery Department. Participant, experimental medicine and cellular and molecular biology programs.
  • Urologist, Hôtel Dieu, affiliated with Quebec City University Hospital Centre (CHUQ).
  • Genitourinary cancerology program director and kidney transplant team member.
  • Founder, DiagnoCure Inc.
  • Vice-president, research and development, DiagnoCure Inc.
  • Founding president, Canadian Urologic Oncology Group
Professional memberships » American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons » Canadian Urologic Oncology Group » Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada » Canadian Urological Association » American Urological Association » Urological Research Society » American Association for Cancer Research » Society of Basic Urology Research » International Urological Society

For many years, the efforts of Dr. Fradet, a world-renowned urology researcher, have been generating concrete results, including urine-based diagnostic tests for bladder and prostate cancer. These techniques is intended to be quicker, less invasive and, most importantly, less painful than traditional screening methods such as biopsies.

Wearing different hats

Dr. Fradet has spoken at forums around the world, sharing his extensive knowledge and pushing the boundaries of clinical practice, teaching, research and entrepreneurship. As a professor of oncological surgery at Laval University’s Faculty of Medicine (, he also earned a worldwide reputation as a cancer surgeon. In parallel with his professional activities at Quebec City’s Hôtel Dieu hospital research centre (, in 1994 he co-founded DiagnoCure (, a Quebec City-based biotech company specializing in the development and marketing of molecular diagnostic tests for cancer detection and management. TSX-listed DiagnoCure has gone on to become a pioneer in the field. “We’ve done well because we focus on clinical research,” says Dr. Fradet, who serves as the company’s vice-president of research and development. “Worldwide, we recruit more patients for clinical trials than almost any other research team. That is of great benefit since patients gain access to new treatments before they become commercially available. And it helps keep everything going for us.”

A unique approach

Dr. Fradet’s less “mechanical” research approach may well account for his many discoveries, not to mention the large number of high-potential projects he is currently working on. He continues to generate solid results thanks to his involvement in some 60 pharmaceutical company projects, leading to five major discoveries that have received patents.

“Research is first and foremost a state of mind. People erroneously tend to think that scientists and researchers will discover whatever needs to be discovered if we invest millions of dollars in high-tech platforms. That seems to be the industry-wide trend even though, overall, the US-style research institutes aren’t generating many discoveries, despite all of their robots and huge machines testing cells and molecules 24/7. That approach may work occasionally, but I believe results mainly come from simple observation and ideas. The data are out there for all to see until someone makes that connection no one has thought of before,” says Dr. Fradet, who also heads one of the 25 cancer research teams at the Hôtel Dieu research centre.

A passion for research

The signs that Dr. Fradet’s career would be a productive and diverse one were evident in his first years of medical school back in the mid-1970s. During an immunology research internship one summer, his group was one of the first in the world to identify a new family of lymphocytes (white blood cells). “Success breeds passion. And a passionate interest is essential, no matter what you’re doing,” he says in support of his chosen field.

An ongoing mission

Thanks to Dr. Fradet’s efforts, Quebec City has become a beacon of hope for the international research community, backed by his memberships in various national and international associations, including the Urological Research Society. He was the first doctor in Quebec to join this prestigious association, which has fewer than 100 members around the world and admits only the top researchers. “Innovation and new ideas have no boundaries,” he notes. “They’re everywhere, in cities big and small.”

Despite all the honours and distinctions he has received, Dr. Fradet is pressing on with his humanitarian mission, encouraged by promising new treatments for prostate and bladder cancer. Thanks in no small part to his efforts, the Hôtel Dieu research centre remains a beacon of hope in the world.

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