Kudos for October 2012



Michael Rudnicki, Duncan Stewart and others took part in a panel discussion on the past, present and future of regenerative medicine. Event was held at the Westin Hotel on October 2nd.  After this discussion, The Ottawa Citizen then published an article on Dr. Duncan Stewart’s “imminent, world-first clinical trial of a novel therapy for heart attack survivors.” The method uses a patient’s own stem cells that have been enhanced to bolster their regenerative powers, with the goal of regenerating cardiac muscle and staving off scarring that weakens the heart.  Details in The Ottawa Citizen October 3rd, 2012.

Dean Fergusson  and Brian Hutton were featured in an Ottawa Citizen article about their comprehensive review of evidence published in the British Medical Journal comparing 3 drugs commonly used after heart surgery. Dean Fergusson then wrote an editorial in The Ottawa Citizen on September 25th in response, entitled Sharing Critical Research.  “We are scientists who asked a question, developed a way to answer that question, assessed the evidence using solid methods and reported our findings in a well-respected, peer-reviewed medical journal. We have not challenged Health Canada. The evidence has.”

Shawn Marshall interviewed by CBC – Warnings to medically unfit drivers may limit crashes.  Dr. Marshall quoted as saying “ For the conditions that they highlight , alcoholism, epilepsy, dementia, there’s little debate that these conditions specifically can affect your ability to drive, so I think it’s important to do this.”  Story was also picked up by CTV, Macleans, The Ottawa Citizen.

Thomas Foreman and Rakesh Patel published article in The Ottawa Citizen (Sept 19th) entitled: Op-Ed: Health care is not a commodity.  “Because of the availability of medical information online, patients are increasingly demanding their own treatment plans. But it would be unethical for doctors to allow it. “

Jeffrey Simpson follows a day in the life of Jeffrey Turnbull in a special feature in the National Post – The real problem with Canadian health care. Feature was published on October 4th, 2012.


Mark Clemons and Christina Addison awarded $59,074 by the High Impact Clinical Trials (HICT) Program of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research to identify risk factors for bone-related problems experienced by patients being treated for breast cancer that has spread to the bone.

Doug Gray has received $120,000 from Cancer Research Society to explore how an enzyme called USP4, discovered in the Gray lab, is involved in the complex biological decision about whether a cell will divide, grow old or be killed off. USP4 is known to control a gene that is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancers. This research will allow them to focus future efforts on the best targets for developing cancer therapies that help control this critical decision about a cell’s fate.


John Bell awarded a $7.5 million grant from Terry Fox Foundation. Funding will allow the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium to continue their work as a trans-Canadian Network of clinical and basic scientists focused on the application of oncolytic viruses as a way to treat cancer.

Dean Fergusson presented findings of a clinical trial at the conference of American Blood Banks. The trial tested whether fresh red blood cells are associated with better outcomes for transfusion patients compared to stored blood from blood banks. Details in JAMA.

Dean Fergusson and team of researchers from Quebec City found that steroid treatment often given to patients after having tonsils out is associated with a higher risk of readmission due to bleeding. The paper concludes that the routine use of steroids is not advised given the availability of effective alternatives. Details in BMJ.

Carl van Walraven’s research on hospital readmission rates was published in CMAJ. Results suggest “caution when comparing hospital performance based on 30-day or urgent readmissions.”

Rashmi Kothary and colleagues have made an important contribution to Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the leading inherited cause of death in infants and toddlers. They have discovered a defect in the way nerves connect with muscle cells. See details in Neurobiology of Disease.

Dar Dowlatshahi and team featured in The Lancet for stop-motion imaging used to diagnose bleeding in the brain.  The technique called dynamic CT angiography allowed the team to see ongoing bleeding and get the patient quickly into surgery. Details in The Lancet.


Michael Schlossmacher and his team have been awarded the prestigious Annals of Neurology prize, awarded for outstanding contribution to clinical neuroscience. A paper published in 2011 that revealed the first link between mutations in the GBA gene and the hallmark accumulation of a protein called alpha-synuclein within the brains of people with Parkinson’s was a major reason for the award.

Ottawa Heart Institute ranked first out of 91 Ontario hospitals for acute care. HI was the only hospital in Ottawa to make the list.  Related stories: CFRA – “ Heart Institute ranks high for patient satisfaction”. Metro – “Ottawa Heart Institute picked first by cardiac patients.”

Phil Wells, David Picketts and Dr. Soleimani were honoured at a Governor General of Canada reception on October 15th as winners of the OHRI Scientific Awards. “ Dr. Wells, Dr. Picketts and Dr. Soleimani know that researchers can always strive to learn new things, to search for new treatments and cures, and to give hope to so many people. I commend each of them for that they have done thus far.”