Kudos for August 2013



Beth Pringle interviewed by CTV Ottawa (May 6th) in regards to ‘Former Ottawa woman paralyzed without warning’ story.

Jim Walker and Jillian MacDonald interviewed by CTV news re ‘Campaign to build Ottawa Dermatology Centre of Excellence’ story which appeared on May 18th.

Nahid Azad quoted in news release re CMAJ story entitled ‘Older Canadians at risk of undernourishment.’ (July 9th issue, v. 185(10):e473)

Mark Clemons interviewed by Ottawa Citizen and CTV news re Angelina Jolie double mastectomy surgery as a precautionary measure against breast cancer. Dr. Clemons discussed the BRCA1 gene and clarified why and when this procedure is the best option and who needs genetic testing to identify the gene mutation.

Kumanan Wilson published paper in Pediatrics journal that suggests that flu shots do not aggravate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children and teens, and actually may provide some protection. He was interviewed by Ottawa Citizen in regards to this publication. Details in Pediatrics. Dr. Wilson also mentioned in Ottawa Citizen article at the end of July calling for a national vaccine registry to help manage outbreaks and identify trends. The article noted Dr. Wilson’s strong support for this registry and also mentioned his own app which helps parents keep track of their children’s vaccination records.

Michael Schlossmacher on CTV Morning Live (May 24th) to discuss Run for a Reason, a fundraising effort to support Parkinson’s research. 1250 runners ran on 37 teams, including 9 hospital teams who collected pledges for The Ottawa Hospital, in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2013.

Jim Walker interviewed by CBC News on May 31st re ‘Canadians said to be at risk from outdated sunscreen rules – UVA rays more likely to cause skin cancer, but labels only required to mention UVB protection’ story.

Kevin Burns was a guest on CFRA’s Experts on Call hosted by Dean Roberts. They discussed the burden of kidney disease and some of the research taking place at the Kidney Research Centre.

Alex Sorisky interviewed re CMAJ article “US approves new class of diabetes drug, under review in Canada”. Dr. Sorisky was quoted as saying: ‘Doctors are often unable to help patients achieve optimum control of their diabetes…..so, new medications with a novel mechanism of action can be of potential help.’ Dr. Sorisky’s preliminary review of canagliflozin can be found in CMAJ.

Mark Tyndall interviewed by Ottawa Citizen, Globe & Mail, and CTV re Ottawa supervised injection site on June 7th. Dr. Tyndall quoted as saying ‘building one here is the right thing to do. We know that this is an important intervention and we should continue to move ahead.’ A new bill tabled in Parliament which outlines a process for granting the exemptions to Canada’s drug laws that are needed to set up safe injection sites for drug users may make the process more difficult. Dr. Tyndall also published an opinion piece in The Ottawa Citizen in response to federal government’s bill.

Mark Tyndall also interviewed re June 17th day of action for refugee health. Story covered by Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, Global News, Toronto Star, Sun News Network. Follow-up story in Ottawa Citizen on June 18th – ‘Refugees suffer consequences of federal spending cuts, doctors say.’ Jeff Turnbull quoted as saying “The Ottawa Hospital treats everyone who arrives at the emergency department in need of urgent care whether they have health coverage or not.” He thinks the bigger challenge is how the hospital should treat uninsured refugees with less urgent health needs.

Krista Wooller and Janine Malcolm interviewed by Ottawa Citizen on June 10th – “Two doctors share their ideas to make a difference.” The first problem is the overuse of catheters. They developed a three part solution which will begin at TOH in September. Phase 1: surveillance phase to determine which patients are getting catheters and why Phase 2: a checklist that will ensure doctors and nurses use catheters only where appropriate Phase 3: another round of surveillance. Goal is to reduce catheter usage from 20% to 5% and thereby reduce infection risks and antibiotic use. Second problem is diabetes related amputations. The solution involves better education for physicians and patients and a screening tool that checks patient’s feet for circulation, sensation and wounds. Ultimate goal is that screening will reduce the amputation rate.

David Allan interviewed in response to Sun Life Financial’s donation of $100,000 to help build Canada’s first national public umbilical cord blood bank. Umbilical cord blood bank scheduled to open in Ottawa in fall of 2013. Dr. Allan quoted as saying – “Canada’s ethnic and Aboriginal populations are under-represented on the adult stem cell registry (OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network). There is a pressing need for these patients to have better access to stem cell treatments. The generosity of Sun Life Financial will help ensure the creation of the national public umbilical blood bank and thereby increase the patient’s chances of finding their match. “

Todd Fairhead interviewed by Ottawa Citizen for a story on “the tough transition from teen to adult patient”. Dr. Fairhead volunteers as a “champion” to help young patients with kidney disease transition from care at CHEO to TOH.

José Pereira was spokesperson for a project whereby different hospices and palliative care programs in the community, the smaller towns, and the smaller regions are linked to the big hospitals right around the city. Ottawa Citizen published article August 23rd entitled: “A Dozen palliative care centres join the provinces telemedic network.” Story also picked up by CBC Ottawa, Ottawa Sun, Radio-Canada, Cornwall Free News, Market Watch.

Jennifer Beeker being encouraged to apply for funding to buy $65,000 skin cancer laser machine for her pigmented lesion clinic at TOH. Currently, only 6 clinics in Canada have this machine. Suns News Network story of August 23rd entitled: “Skin Cancer laser may get widespread use.”

Allan Tinmouth interviewed for an Ottawa Citizen story in July entitled ‘Health experts confront the hidden hazards of blood transfusions.’ He discussed “wrong blood in tube” transfusions, incompatible mismatched transfusions, and major reactions. He was also quoted in a second story –“Too much blood: researchers fear the gift of life may sometimes endanger it.” Dr. Tinmouth felt “people are being transfused at hemoglobin levels higher than they need to be.” It is important to change the behavior of physicians. Fraser Rubens was also quoted in this second story. He noted that “what we are sure of, however, is that there is a huge variation in transfusion rates across Canada for cardiac surgery patients of the same risk profile, and this is very difficult to explain.”

Andrew Pipe commented on a July MacLean’s article entitled – Federal government ignores sodium in healthy eating campaign. The government program fails to be blunt about sodium and Dr. Pipe quoted as saying “To bury this kind of information in these bland, anodyne, ‘Be a good Canadian and follow the food rules’, messages, it’s a delinquency.”

Dave Conrad and John Bell developed unique virus-derived particles that can kill human blood cancer cells in the lab and eradicate the disease in mice with few side effects. Details in Nature’s Blood Cancer Journal. Story in Medical Xpress, CBC, Ottawa Citizen, CTV, Metro, Windsor Star, New Medical and Huffington Post. Article entitled: Non-replicating rhabdovirus-derived particles (NRRPs) eradicate acute leukemia by direct cytolysis and induction of antitumor immunity.


David Birnie published BRUISE Control Trial in New England Journal of Medicine.  Article entitled: Pacemaker or defibrillator surgery without interruption of anticoagulation.

Duncan Stewart and David Courtman recently awarded $250,000 from Stem Cell Network for work in clinical trial led by Lauralyn McIntyre. The group will use modulating stem cells derived from bone marrow to treat septic shock.

Mark Clemons and his group have analyzed 53 breast cancer clinical trials since 1990 (>85,000 patients) and published paper in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment which discusses progress that has been made leading to decreased rates of cancer recurrence. Paper also discusses how future surgery and radiotherapy clinical trials will require more patients, more sites, and more time to complete, making trials more difficult and expensive to undertake.  Details in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Marc Clemons has also shown that medical imaging continues to be overused in women with primary operable early stage breast cancer. Reducing unnecessary medical imaging for early stage breast cancer could save money and reduce anxiety and delays for patients. Details in ASCO Post.

Harry Atkins, Jean-Simon Diallo, Fabrice Le BoeufJohn Bell and David Conrad involved in research suggesting that powerful anti-leukemia vaccine can be made by infecting leukemia cells with a cancer-fighting virus in the lab. Paper entitled : Leukemia cell-rhabdovirus vaccine: personalized immunotherapy for acute lymphocytic leukemia. Details in Clinical Cancer Research. First author is David Conrad.

Jeffrey Dilworth and team have published a finding which has implications for muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting conditions. Mef2D protein involved in changing muscle stem cells to muscle fibre has two versions, each leading to a different outcome. Finding a way to switch between the two versions of the same protein makes it a candidate for developing therapeutics that could improve muscle regeneration in disease and aging. Details in Genes & Development.

Rashmi Kothary’s lab published article describing the importance to our nerves of a protein called ILK, or integrin-linked kinase. Article published as cover article in Journal of Neuroscience.

Phil Wells and Thrombosis Fellow Kerstin Hogg published article in JAMA Internal Medicine on the importance of QALY in making health care decisions. Details can be found at:

Hogg K, Kimpton M, Carrier M, Coyle D, Forgie M, Wells PS. Estimating quality of life in acute venous thrombosis. JAMA Int  Med 2013; 173(12):1067-72

 John Bell and colleagues published paper in Nature Communications that shows how math can be used in the fight against cancer. They describe a method of mathematical modeling that predicts how different treatments and genetic modifications might allow cancer-killing, oncolytic viruses to target cancer cells.

Andrew Pipe urging doctors to adopt a clinical approach to target smoking. “We’re asking our colleagues to think about smoking cessation like clinicians, to understand more the fundamental mechanisms which impel and maintain smoking behavior and to recognize that those mechanisms can be very powerful.” Details in CMAJ.

Dean Fergusson and Jeremy Grimshaw co-authored a PLOS Medicine paper that gives recommendations on how to make preclinical animal research more effective. They developed a preclinical research checklist based on previously published systematic reviews.  Details in PLOS Medicine.

Carl van Walraven and colleagues identified factors that increase the risk of surgical infection, including smoking, obesity, chronic diseases and duration of operation. They then developed an on-line calculator that takes these factors into account to predict a patient’s risk of infection. Details in PLOS One.

Curtis Cooper was co-author and the Ottawa site lead part for a clinical trial recently published in Lancet Infectious Disease.  Study examined the effect of antiviral agent, boceprevir, on patients infected with both HIV and Hep C. Details in Lancet Infectious Disease.

Michael Schlossmacher named as an inventor on a recently issued patent. The patent is for work he has done on the effects of a gene called GBA (whose mutations are the most common genetic risk factor for Parkinson’s) and an accumulation of a protein called alpha-synuclein within the brains of people with Parkinson’s.  Dr. Schlossmacher received the prestigious Annals of Neurology Prize for a paper he wrote on these findings in 2012.

Rob Beanlands reported that in July the Division of Cardiology had 27 publications, 12 as first or senior author. Publications include:

  • Perrin MJ et al. Exercise testing in asymptomatic gene carriers exposes a latent electrical substrate or arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Card PMID23810883
  • Liu F et al. Ischemic heart disease after breast cancer radiotherapy. NEJM 368(26):2526-
  • Redpath C et al. Mitochondrial hyperfusion during oxidative stress is coupled to a dysregulation in calcium handling within a C2C12 cell model. PLOS One 8(7):e69165
  • McArdle BA et al. Is there an association between clinical presentation and the location and extent of myocardial involvement of cardiac sarcoidosis as assessed by 18F-fluorodoexyglucose positron emission tomography. Circ. Cardiovasc Imag. PMID23884290
  • Small GR et al. Lessons from the tc-99m shortage: Circ. Cardiovasc. Imag.  PMID23873401
  • Birnie D et al. Clinical outcomes with synchronized left ventricular pacing: Analysis of the adaptive CRT trial. Heart Rhythm PMID23851059
  • Huang B et al. Role of brain corticosterone and aldosterone in central angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Hypertension PMID 23856493

Hsiao-Huei Chen and team have discovered a new pathway that controls appetite, metabolism and weight gain. The pathway involves leptin, the hungry gene. Details in Journal of Neuroscience


Lyall Higginson appointed first recipient of Donald S. Beanlands Chair in Cardiovascular Education.

Congratulations to the successful applicants of the Dept of Medicine Patient Quality and Safety awards. View successful project list.

Ottawa Citizen published an editorial on June 22nd – ‘Mohs a top-notch clinic.’ Patient had been recently treated for basal cell cancer at the Mohs Surgery and Surgical Dermatology Clinic at the Civic campus and wrote that the “clinic stands out as a model for the delivery of care in all sectors of our health system.”

The following researchers have received postdoctoral fellowships:

  • Mary-Anne Doyle (Curtis Cooper, CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network)
  • Nicolas Dumont (Michael Rudnicki, CIHR)
  • Sheetal Patel (Mark Tyndall, CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network)
  • Paul Ronksley (Alan Forster, CIHR)
  • Melanie Lacaria (Michael Rudnicki, CIHR)

Alan Forster announced winners of the 2013 Resident Research Day (view photo):

  • Moira Rushton – oral presentation award winner (PGY1)
  • Chris Tran – oral presentation award winner (PGY2)
  • Tom Tran – oral presentation award winner (PGY3)
  • Amber Molnar – oral presentation award winner (PGY5)
  • Tadeau Fantaneanu – overall poster presentation award winner (PGY4)

Hsiao-Huei Chen received money from Heart & Stroke Foundation for project on how we can use our immune system to improve stroke recovery. She also received $754,000 from CIHR to study the molecular mechanisms underlying anxiety disorders.

Susan Dent co-Chaired the 3rd Annual Conference of the Canadian Cardiac Oncology Network in mid June at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Peter Liu gave keynote presentation on using biomarkers to assess a cancer patient’s level of cardiotoxicity.  Dr. Dent interviewed by Ottawa Citizen (June 19th)  – ‘Cancer is hard on the heart – Ottawa hosts a medical conference on the cardiac implications of cancer treatment.’

Lauralyn McIntyre awarded a Knowledge Synthesis Grant from CIHR to undertake a review that pulls together evidence on the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to treat acute lung injury. If sufficient evidence exists, they will proceed with a clinical trial for this therapy. She is currently using MSCs to treat septic shock.

Marc Rodger received a $97,000 Knowledge Synthesis Grant from CIHR to combine and analyze data from 6 studies in order to clearly understand the effectiveness of a blood thinner in preventing pregnancy complications.

Alex Sorisky and colleagues awarded a $263,000 CIHR operating grant to investigate a novel protein that may play a role in obesity and diabetes.

John Bell awarded $729,000 CIHR operating grant to study the potential of using cancer-killing  oncolytic viruses to treat pancreatic cancer.

Jason Tay received $140,000 RCT Mentoring award from CIHR to conduct a trial examining the optimal level of red blood cells in patients receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat blood cancer. RCT Mentoring awards encourage future leaders in trials research.

Xiaohui Zha received a 2013 CIHR operating grant – Regulation of Inflammatory Response and Cholesterol efflux by ABCA1.

Michael McBurney received 2013 CIHR Operating grant – SirT1 mediates adaptation to chronic stress and resistance to chronic disease and a 2013 Synapse Mentorship Award (Research Group) Program for Cancer Therapeutics.

Dean Fergusson received 2013 Operating grant – Transfusion Requirement in Cardiac Surgery III (TRICS III).

Rashmi Kothary received 2013 Operating grant for $750,000 – The molecular pathogenesis of spinal muscular atrophy.

Phil Wells received a 2013 Operating grant for $501,083- Development and Validation of Clinical Prediction Rules for Bleeding for Patients on Anticoagulation Therapy for Venous Thromboembolism.


The Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has named Sue Dojeiji as recipient of the 2013 Meredith Marks Award for Excellence in Education.

Nahid Azad was awarded the Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) designation, which recognizes Canadian physicians for their exemplary performance as leaders, on May 31st at the Canadian Conference of Physician Leadership in Vancouver.

Michael McBurney’s Cancer Therapeutics Program has won CIHR’s 2013 Synapse Award for Mentorship in the research group category. The $10,000 award recognizes the efforts of a group that has made exceptional efforts to promote health research among Canada’s high-school students.

Kumanan Wilson has assumed the newly created Chair of Public Health Policy position.  This Chair position is funded by OHRI, The Ottawa Hospital and the Department of Medicine.

Michael Froeschl, interventional cardiologist at the Heart Institute, has been named recipient of the 2013 CCS Trainee Excellence in Education Award.

Dar Dowlatshahi awarded a HSF New Investigator award in the 2013 HSF Ontario Personnel award competition. David Birnie, Michael Gollob and Lisa Mielniczuk also received personnel awards from HSF in this same competition.

Peter Liu awarded the Recognition of Excellence Award from Hypertension Canada for C-CHANGE (Canadian CV Harmonized Guidelines Endeavour). Dr. Liu is the Director of C-CHANGE.  He will receive the award at Vascular 2013 in Montreal on October 19th.

Marc Rodger recently profiled in a Heart & Stroke Foundation posting. Dr. Rodger was a 2013/2014 Career Investigator Award winner. They profiled his work examining the risk of pregnancy complications due to thrombophilias. Posting was entitled: ‘Solving a maternity mystery.’