Kudos for December 2011


Dr. Alan Forster has provided the most accurate measure yet of the impact of hospital-acquired C. Difficile infection on length of hospital stay. Using TOH Data Warehouse, Dr. Forster and colleagues examined data from 137,000 patients. After controlling for severity of illness and timing of infection, they found that C. Difficile increased the length of hospital stay by six days. See Cell Stem Cell for details.

Dr. Mark Clemons has published a paper in Journal of Clinical Oncology that is changing how breast cancer is treated around the world. Dr. Clemons and colleagues analyzed biopsies of breast cancer metastases from women with recurring or progressing disease and found that in nearly 40% of cases, the metastases expressed different biomarkers than the original cancer. Because these biomarkers can predict which cancers will respond to which treatments, the new test opened up new treatment options for many women. See the Ottawa Citizen and the Journal of Clinical Oncology for details.

Dr. Christina Addison has published a new study in Molecular Oncology that suggests that a class of experimental anti-cancer compounds commonly thought to only target tumour tumour cells directly, may in fact also be targeting the blood vessels that feed the tumours. Dr. Addison’s research shows  that the FAK inhibitors are approximately 20 times more potent in preventing blood vessel growth than they are at preventing cancer growth. Details in Molecular Oncology.


Dr. Rashmi Kothary and Dr. Robin Parks have received a major equipment grant to support their research into spinal muscular atrophy from Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Leaders Opportunity fund competition. The grant is worth $350,000.

Canada’s new $100 bill features a microscope and stem cells from the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research.

Dr. Anna Byszewski and her colleagues reviewed charts from more than 400 TOH hip fracture patients and compared data to a similar study done at TOH 10 years ago. They found that treatment with proven bone-strengthening medications has greatly increased but overall, 60% of patients still leave hospital without appropriate prescriptions. Details in Journal of Osteoporosis.


Dr. Bill Cameron and the CAPT Network has produced and got funding for a large CIHR Team Grant for a social –clinical – basic science collaboration in maternal child HIV transmission and immunity. The group received $4.3m over 5 years. The study will run in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Cape Town and Jos (Nigeria). Application entitled: “Innate, Adaptive, and Mucosal Immune Responses in HIV-1 Exposed Uninfected Infants: A Human Model to Understand Correlates of Immune Protection.”

Stroke researchers, Dr. Dar Dowlatshahi, Dr. Michael Sharma and Dr. Tony Hakim, were interviewed by the Medical Post in regards to the recent Canadian Stroke Congress.  Dr. Dowlatshahi discussed his research on drugs that inhibit blood clotting and that can be used to reduce stroke risk in some patients. Dr. Michael Sharma discussed his study on smoking as a major risk factor for stroke and Dr. Hakim was interviewed about his role in organizing the Congress event.


Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw presented a key note address at the Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines Summit. He called for a National strategy to improve the development and implementation of clinical guidelines which represent a key tool for moving research evidence into the clinic. See CMAJ and the Summit website for details.

Dr. Mark Tyndall busy with media interviews with CBC and Macleans magazine at the end of November. Interviews concerned Dr. Christiane Farazli’s Ottawa clinic and patients testing positive for Hepatitis C. Other interviews involved Dr. Tyndall and colleagues’ efforts to get funding to support a systematic review of the studies on harm-reduction interventions, including supervised injection sites.  Politicians in Canada are pondering whether to set up safe-injection sites in other Canadian sites besides Vancouver.

Dr. Kumanan Wilson interviewed in The Ottawa Citizen in regards to new research on measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Children are showing up in emergency rooms, not because of complications related to the vaccine, but because parents have not been given sufficient explanations about the possible side effects associated with the vaccine.


Dr. TC Ooi was selected as the recipient for the 2011 Distinguished Mentor Award in the Faculty of Medicine. He will receive the award in February 2012.

Dr. Rashmi Kothary and Dr. Shawn Aaron were both interviewed on Rogers TV Ottawa Daytime news as a follow-up to their recent awards presented at TOH Gala. Dr. Kothary spoke about his research on neuromuscular disease while Dr. Aaron spoke about his lung disease research.

Dr. Michael Rudnicki was featured in a Globe and Mail story entitled: “Stem Cells: A quantum leap for medicine?” The story discussed recent advances in stem cell research, including Dr. Rudnicki’s work on a protein called Wnt7a that can stimulate stem cells in adult muscle tissue.