Kudos for November



Harry Atkins and Mark Freedman in the news the last week of October 2013 in regards to an experimental bone marrow stem cell transplant therapy. The procedure has shown great promise in helping patients with certain severe auto-immune diseases.

Rob Beanlands interviewed by CFRA about the City of Ottawa’s decision to spend $2.2 million on new defibrillators. Dr. Beanlands applauded the decision as defibrillators do need to be upgraded regularly.

Jeff Turnbull and Ottawa Inner City Health were in the news for outstanding commitment to Ottawa’s ‘most vulnerable citizens’. Dr. Turnbull discussed the TED initiative, the Mission Hospice, and the Managed Alcohol Program. The initiatives translate into fewer crises, less violence and far fewer emergency room visits. TED stands for targeted engagement and diversion and the initiative takes healthcare directly to the Ottawa’s homeless population. Details at cbc.ca (November 5th) – ‘Making house calls on the homeless.’ Related to this story, an article also appeared in Ottawa Community News – ‘Doctors rally to support Ottawa Mission; $2800 collected to buy new medical equipment.’

Alan Forster interviewed in regards to article in Ottawa Citizen (October 30th) entitled ‘ Pilot offers Ottawa Hospital a means to improve patient safety’. Steve Will spoke at TOH about how air force pilots can teach others about learning from their mistakes. Forster quoted as saying the “air force approach could help teach hospitals how to break down silos and get people working together towards common goals.” Hospital debriefings (or critical incidence reviews) may be introduced at The Ottawa Hospital not only after serious incidents but on a regular basis.

Hillel Finestone gave his 10 tips to prevent stroke in an Ottawa Citizen article published on October 31st.

The Ottawa Hospital and U of O Heart Institute recognized for leading research in October 29th issue of Ottawa Citizen. TOH and UOHI ranked 4th in Canada in the national top 40 Research Hospital rankings, published by RE$EARCH Infosource. TOH also had the highest research intensity (funding per investigator) among the top-five hospitals.

Scott Laurie interviewed by Ottawa Citizen – Lung cancer’s stigma blamed for low profile (November 5th). Dr. Laurie explained that the stigma surrounding lung cancer makes it hard for patients. One patient told Dr. Laurie that she wished that she had breast cancer so that society would care.

Virginia Roth was interviewed by Huffington Post Canada . Story entitled: “Flu Shot: 21 Facts about the Flu.”

Glen Goss interviewed about cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre on CTV Ottawa Morning on November 8th.

Lynn Megeney quoted in article in Radin Rue entitled: “ Un possible traitement précoce pour certaine maladies cardiaques.”


David Stewart recently published paper in BMC Cancer which outlines the challenges in conducting clinical trials of new targeted therapies and proposes innovative solutions. Dr. Stewart’s paper provides 18 recommendations for how to improve cancer clinical trials, backed up by previous research and new simulation data. The article is entitled: “Fool’s gold, lost treasures and the randomized clinical trial.” Details in BMC Cancer 2013;13:193.

Chris Kennedy and team have identified a potential target for slowing the onset of kidney disease induced by diabetes. Details can be found in American Journal of Pathology. Article entitled: PTGER1 Deletion Attenuates Renal Injury in Diabetic Mouse Models.

Bob Roberts wrote article in Cardiology today (November 2013) entitled : ‘Genetic variant predisposes to CAD’. In a large genome-wide association study, a genetic variant predisposing to CAD was identified on the short arm of chromosome 6 (6p21.3). This is the first study to show definitively that a polymorphism in the DNA region containing the MHC genes is associated with increased risk for CAD.

Dar Dowlatshahi and Rashmi Kothary will be participating in the 6th annual Brain Health Research Day on December 4th, 2013. The event is hosted by the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute.

Fraser Scott and colleagues have been awarded nearly $900,000 from CIHR to study the possible role of natural anti-microbial proteins in preventing type 1 diabetes. Details can be found in CIHR’s Funding Decisions database.

John Bell has received the 2013 Investigator Award from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, a highly competitive $500,000 grant awarded to a single scientist / team from the USA or Canada. The grant will enable Dr. Bell and colleagues to develop a manufacturing process for a novel cancer-fighting virus called Chimeric Maraba


Curtis Cooper has been awarded the Ontario HIV Treatment Network’s Applied HIV Research Chair worth over $750,000 over 5 years. This support will allow Dr. Cooper to continue his work in improving care for people infected with Hep C virus (HCV) and those who have both HIV and HCV.

Harry Atkins is leading a Workshop called Approaches to Clinical and Translational Research (ACTR) on February 10-11, 2014. The workshop will feature case studies on the development of oncolytic viruses and stem cell therapies, as well as lectures on topics such as preclinical and clinical testing, manufacturing, business considerations, ethics and regulations. Further details can be found at ACTR website.

Marjorie Brand and Theodore Perkins have been awarded more than $1.1 million from the NIH to undertake a study of red blood cell development. They plan to use novel technology to measure changes in hundreds of genetic factors as stem cells develop into red blood cells. The research will hopefully develop new therapies for rare blood diseases such as beta-thalassemia.

Duncan Stewart recently chaired Vascular 2013 which brought 4 Canadian conferences together under one roof in Montreal. There were 6500 attendees and key partners included: Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Society of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Canadian Stroke Network and Hypertension Canada. The conference resulted in the release of Vascular Declaration – a call for urgent action on vascular disease.

TC Ooi received the 2013 Physician Scientist Award at the annual Canadian Lipoprotein Conference in Mont Tremblant. Dr. Ooi’s research explores the role of an enzyme called PCSK9 in regulating cholesterol metabolism and how it might be targeted to reduce cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular health.

Dar Dowlatshahi has published a paper in Stroke that determines which stroke patients are likely to benefit from blood clotting drugs. Dr. Dowlatshahi’s study shows that an experimental approach to detect bleeding in the brain (the ‘spot sign’) does indeed detect active bleedings, as measured through a novel CT scanning video procedure. Paper is entitled: Evolution of Computed Tomography Angiography Spot Sign Is Consistent With a Site of Active Hemorrhage in Acute Intracerebral Hemorrhage.

Jonathan Angel appointed as Chair of the CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Selection Committee for a one year term. The Banting PDF program provides funding to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who positively contribute to the country’s economic, social and research-based growth.

Bradley Stark will be presented with the Outstanding Clinical Performance Award on December 11th, 2013 as part of the Faculty of Medicine Awards in Education. Bradley was recognized for having outstanding medical knowledge and excellent clinical presentation skills. He was particularly noted for performing above expectations in ensuring communication of medical information to patients and their families, regardless of barriers. He also performed beyond expectations in ensuring safe transitions of care from the hospital to other care settings.

Michael Rudnicki wrote an article on stem cell research for The Hill Times, a newspaper for elected officials and staff on Parliament Hill. Article was entitled: “Moving stem cell breakthroughs from the lab to the bedside.”


The Ottawa Hospital Foundation held a reception on October 30th to thank hundreds of riders and volunteers who participated in Ride the Rideau. Mark Clemons was a keynote speaker at the event and spoke of how research by his group and others has improved breast cancer care around the world.

Congratulations to Drs. Hang Yin, Mark Clemons, and Michael Rudnicki, who were honored at TOH Gala for Research on November 10th. We are proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of these 3 members of the DOM.

  • Dr. Yin received the Dr. Ronald G. Worton Researcher in Training Award for his promising stem cell research, under the mentorship of Dr. Rudnicki. Dr. Yin recently discovered a trigger that turns muscle stem cells into brown fat, a form of good fat that could play a critical role in the fight against obesity and diabetes.
  • Dr. Clemons (Division of Medical Oncology) received the Dr. Michel Chrétien Researcher of the Year Award for leading a seminal study that has changed how metastatic breast cancer is treated around the world. Dr. Clemons’ study showed that the molecular characteristics of an individual’s breast cancer can change as the cancer spreads to other organs, and re-checking these characteristics will often open up new treatment options or suggest strategies that are more likely to work for a given patient.
  • Dr. Rudnicki received the Dr. J. David Grimes Research Career Achievement Award for his exceptional research and leadership in regenerative medicine. Dr. Rudnicki’s team was the first to identify stem cells in adult muscle tissue, and they have continued to make many groundbreaking discoveries about how stem cells work and how they may be harnessed to treat diseases such as muscular dystrophy, muscle-wasting associated with cancer, obesity and diabetes.

TOH Cancer Program has been accredited by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) – a prestigious designation that acknowledges state of the art facilities and integrated oncology and palliative care programs that meet the highest criteria in the world. TOHCC is just the 3rd cancer program in Canada to achieve this accreditation.