Kudos for October 2013



Lynn Megeney has discovered that proteins involved in cell death also play a key role in abnormal heart muscle thickening. The research was published in PNAS (Oct 13th online) and could lead to new treatments for certain forms of heart disease. Story in Ottawa Citizen entitled: ‘Ottawa Scientist discovers possible early treatment for heart disease.’ NG News story: ‘Dr. Lynn Megeney’s research on heart thickness cutting edge.’

Mark Tyndall’s injection site continued to be covered by the media. ‘Injection site causes debate in Ottawa community’, ‘Making the case for a supervised drug injection site in Ottawa’, Lowertown mock injection site latest step in public consultation’, ‘Ottawa gets a glimpse inside mock supervised injection site’, ‘Safer Ottawa advocates shoot down plans for safe injection site in Ottawa’ – articles in Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen, CBC, CTV

John Bell and Glen Goss were interviewed by The Ottawa Citizen about how advances in genetic research are changing our understanding of cancer and could potentially change how cancer is treated. Their recent article discussed the fact that cancers can now be better defined by their genetic mutations than by the organ they affect. This could lead to more personalized therapies.

Michael Rudnicki and Lynn Megeney’s regenerative medicine research helped biotherapeutics company Fate Therapeutics go public on the NASDAQ. Fate will be advancing Dr. Rudnicki’s discoveries about the Wnt7a protein for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. Fate is based in California but maintains a significant relationship with Dr. Rudnicki and Dr. Megeney’s teams in Ottawa.

Mark Freedman interviewed by CBC on October 10th  in regards to a study published in the Lancet that finds that narrowing of the veins leading from the brain, a condition called CCSVI, is just as prevalent in patients with MS as in people without MS.  The study was led by Dr. Traboulsee (UBC) and calls into question the controversial theory that MS is caused by or associated with CCSVI.  CTV news – ‘No link between narrowed veins and MS: Canadian-led study.’ Globe & Mail: ‘Canadian study casts further doubt on liberation treatment for MS’. National Post: ‘Advocates stand by controversial MS treatment while new Canadian study sounds its death knell.’

Andrew Pipe interviewed by CTV re ‘Canadian blood pressure experts agree to raise salt limits.’ Dr. Pipe felt the proposed changes would bring Canadian sodium intake guidelines in line with recommendations from the WHO. He noted that the average Canadian should still work on reducing their salt intake by refusing to add salt at meals.

Duncan Stewart’s world first clinical trial of a genetically enhanced stem cell therapy for heart attack was featured in Maclean’s magazine. It was part of a story on regenerative medicine, titled – ‘Building a Better Human.’


Carl van Walraven published in CMAJ (early release Sept 30th): Trends in 1-year survival of people admitted to hospital in Ontario, 1994-2009. Research showed that Ontarians are more likely to survive one year after hospitalization. Details can be found in CMAJ.

Fundraiser reception held on October 9th at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence  to raise funds for the Dermatology Centre that will bear Charlie Logue’s name. Family and friends of Charlie Logue were in attendance as well as  Jim Walker, Catherine Ruddy and Phil Wells.

Chris Bredeson and colleagues have published research in Blood that could change how people with leukemia are treated. Their study showed that chemotherapy is better than radiation when used as a ‘conditioning regimen’ for bone marrow transplantation, with chemotherapy being associated with a small but significant increase in survival.


Michael McBurney received $981,000 operating grant from CIHR to investigate the possible role of a protein called SirT1 in helping the body adapt to chronic stress and resist diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Background information can be found in Genes & Cancer review article which was recently published.

Duncan Stewart has new position on the Executive of the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre.  In this role, he hopes to attract more clinical trials to Canada. For more information, see the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO)’s “An Action Plan to Help Attract More Clinical Trials to Canada.”

University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine was 54th out of 800 in the world and 3rd in Canada by citations and H-index.

Jeremy Grimshaw co-chaired the 21st Cochrane Colloquium in Quebec City. Focus of the Colloquium was ‘Better Knowledge for Better Health”.

Chris Bredeson elected President of the Canadian Blood & Marrow Transplant group. This group is a member-led, national, multidisciplinary organization providing strategic leadership to drive excellence in clinical care, research, and education within the Canadian blood and marrow transplant field.

Dean Fergusson and colleagues received $3.3 million operating grant from CIHR to conduct a large randomized clinical trial comparing 2 different transfusion threshold strategies in heart surgery patients. Currently, the optimal hemoglobin threshold in which to transfuse patients during and after heart surgery has not been established. Therefore, we may be harming patients by under-transfusing or over-transfusing.


Ronald Worton, founding OHRI CEO, will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for 2014. Dr. Worton and team discovered the causal gene for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy in 1987. He founded the OHRI in 1996 and became CEO and Scientific Director of OHRI in 2001.

Marc Rodger and Rob Beanlands awarded HSFO 2013 Career Investigator awards. Both were profiled on HSF website. Dr. Beanland’s profile: Creating a clearer picture of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Rodger’s profile: Solving a maternity mystery.

Melissa Forgie nominated to be appointed to the International Women’s Forum (IWF). The goal of IWF is to “bring together a group of women to exchange ideas, to learn and to promote better leadership in today’s changing world.”