February 2015 Kudos

Publications and Quality

Vicente Corrales-Medina published a paper in JAMA that shows that your chance of having a heart attack or stroke increases significantly if you have been hospitalized for pneumonia. The paper also shows that this increased risk can linger for 10 years. While other studies have made the short-term association between pneumonia hospitalization and cardiovascular disease, this is the first to only look at pneumonia patients with no previous history of cardiovascular disease, while also taking into account the effect of other established cardiovascular risk factors. By doing so, their results strongly indicate that hospitalization for pneumonia should be considered its own risk factor for future cardiovascular disease.

Mark Clemons recently published a paper in The Oncologist which provides a comprehensive review of existing studies to determine whether there is scientifically compelling evidence to support the use of Vitamin C in cancer treatment, either to enhance chemotherapy or reduce its toxicity. The answer is no. Dr. Clemons’ team systematically reviewed 34 articles for studies that involved more than 8,000 patients, finding no statistical difference between those who took Vitamin C and those who did not. The study has also been selected for CME accreditation, an indicator of its medical education impact. Other authors: Carmel Jacobs, Brian Hutton, Terry Ng and Risa Shorr.

Dar Dowlatshahi and Cheemun Lum published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that is changing stroke care around the world. The study evaluated an x-ray-guided, catheter-based approach for removing large stroke-causing blood clots. The results show that positive outcomes for patients increased from 30% to 55% and the death rate decreased from 20% to 10%. The trial was led by Dr. Michael Hill at the University of Calgary.

Angela Crawley was featured in a Tender Loving Research video blog where she explained what inspires her in research. Dr. Crawley works closely with clinicians in the Division of Infectious Diseases to try to understand how hepatitis C and HIV damage the immune system. Her research could lead to the development of better approaches to treat and prevent these and other infectious diseases. The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Tender Loving Research Campaign aims to raise $50M for research at The Ottawa Hospital over the next three years.

Darryl Davis was awarded a CIHR clinician scientist Phase II Award for his number one ranked project entitled Strategies to Enhance Cardiac Repair by Resident Cardiac Stem Cells.


Funding Announcement/Results – Joan Sealy Trust Fall 2014 Competition:

The Faculty of Medicine and OHRI are pleased to announce that over $200,000 has been awarded after the recent call for proposals to the Joan Sealy Trust. The Sealy Trust is a uOttawa fund created to support translational cancer research. The purpose of the fund is to enhance the translation of discovery into improved clinical management of cancer patients. Awardees include:

• Dr. Lorimer et al (Lorimer, Veinot, Banerjee) – “Enhancing the services provided by The University of Ottawa Pathology Core Laboratory”

• Dr. Chatterjee et al (Lo, Ilkow, Bell, Chatterjee)– “Characterization of Pancreatic Cysts”

• Dr. Sabourin et al (Sabourin, Robertson, Clemons)– “Periostin a novel autocrine ligand for the HER2 receptor”

• Dr. Shelly Sud et al (Sud, Goodwin, Asmis, Jonker, Marginean)– “HLA Class 1 Antigen Expression in Colorectal Cancer Primary and Autologous Metastases Specimens”

• Dr. Vickers et al (Dennis, Jonker, Asmis, Marginean, Dimitroulakos, Auer, Vickers, Pantarotto)– “Phase II Trial of Rosuvastatin Combined with Standard Chemoradiation Therapy in the Treatment of High-Risk Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer”

• Dr. Villeneuve et al (Villeneuve, Dimitroulakos, Amjadi, Gilbert, Maziak, Seely, Shamji, Sundarasen) – “Oncolytic rhabdovirus treatment of non-small cell lung cancer – a stage-specific pilot treatment study”

The allocation committee charged with reviewing the applications to the Sealy Trust was composed of Drs. Michael McBurney (Chair), John Bell, Duncan Stewart, Bernard Jasmin, Ruby Heap, and Derek Jonker. Congratulations to the awardees!


Jeff Turnbull was featured in the Ottawa Citizen after being named to the Order of Ontario for his work to fund Inner City Health in Ottawa 14 years ago. Still active as its medical director, Inner City Health provides care to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

David Stewart was interviewed by the Globe and Mail where he commented that regulatory oversight for clinical research in lethal diseases such as cancer must be simplified. Current regulation is cumbersome, costly and inefficient. Canada is in a position to lead; local action here could have benefits not only at home, but elsewhere. Together we can make a difference.

Andrew Pipe was interviewed by the Sault Star where he commented about some of the challenges facing Northern Ontario. “We’ve transformed our ability to manage cardiac disease, we’ve dramatically changed the nature of heart attacks in terms of our ability to manage them and having people return to life in a normal way, in marked contrast to approaches that we took 30 years ago,” he said. But while the findings are cause for celebration, many challenges still lie ahead; communities in Northern Ontario still face the challenge of curbing higher rates of smoking than the rest of province.

Frank Molnar was interviewed by the Hill Times and says that Canada’s health-care system is being overwhelmed by 5.2 million citizens over age 65 and account for 45 per cent of all health care spending. It’s about spending smarter by re-engaging federal leadership in health care. The Canadian Medical Association estimates we are over-spending by $2.3 billion because we have seniors in hospital beds instead of spending smarter. We need a strategy that addresses the real issues that will help seniors live better, longer.. If Canadians really want to retain universal health care, then we need Ottawa to take leadership on seniors care.

Mark Freedman was interviewed by multiple media organizations about leading the first Canadian clinical trial of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS). Like other kinds of stem cells, MSCs can give rise to other more specialized types of cells, however their therapeutic potential comes more from their ability to modify the immune system, reduce inflammation and release factors that help prevent and repair tissue damage. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation have provided $4.2M for the trial, while The Ottawa Hospital Foundation provides funding for the Good Manufacturing Practice laboratory where the MSCs will be processed.

Dr. Kumanan Wilson was interviewed by the multiple media organizations about his research on vaccine refusal, in light of the recent resurgence in measles cases. A new national poll that mines attitudes toward vaccinations suggests support for these disease prevention tools remains relatively high in Canada. But if you look beyond the over-arching numbers — nearly nine out of 10 people polled believe vaccination protects against disease — it contains figures that hint that support is less than optimal and potentially softening, said Dr. Kumanan Wilson, “If those numbers drop any lower, we’re starting to get into worrisome range. And the trend doesn’t seem to be in the right direction,” said Wilson