June 2015 Kudos

Publications and Quality 

Mark Clemons has been included by The Journal of Clinical Oncology to be among its top 50 most cited articles published in 2012. The article shows 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.

Erin Keely and Clare Liddy recently published an article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.  The article revealed that more than 90 percent of primary care providers surveyed found the use of eConsults very valuable for patients and themselves and reduces wait times. To date there have been over 7000 eConsults submitted through the service to over 65 different specialty services.

Mark Clemons and Brian Hutton have published the results of a survey in Supportive Care in Cancer on the use

of steroids to prevent adverse reactions in patients receiving docetaxel chemotherapy, one of the most commonly used drugs in breast cancer.  The article reports on survey results showing that there are major differences in how the steroids are taken. Dr. Clemons notes that the survey identified the use of 10 different protocols. “There is a disconnect between health care providers and health care users that needs to be addressed” says Dr. Clemons. “The practice needs to be standardized so that the patient understands how to take the therapy is communicated effectively.” Co-authors: Carmel Jacobs, Sasha Mazzarello, Stephanie Smith, Anil Joy, Eitan Amir, Mohammed F. K. Ibrahim, Nancy Gregario, Kelly Daigle, Lori Eggert.


Michael Rudnicki, John Bell and Duncan Stewart have been awarded more than $10M for three major research initiatives. Dr. Rudnicki’s grant (from the Canada Foundation for Innovation), focuses on stem cell epigenetics and therapeutics, Dr. Bell’s grant (from the Ontario Research Fund) focuses on manufacturing biotherapeutics for cancer and other diseases and Dr. Stewart’s grant (also from the Ontario Research Fund) focuses on regenerative therapies for heart and lung diseases. Matching funds from other sources are still being confirmed. Further details (including co-investigators) will be provided once these grants are formally announced by the government funders.

Drs. Shawn Aaron,  Jeremy Grimshaw, Greg Knoll and Duncan Stewart were part of a group of eight scientists from the OHRI who have moved on to the third and final phase of the Foundation grant competition from the CIHR. Foundation grants are meant to provide long term (five to seven year) support for Canada’s top health researchers. Final results are expected this summer.


Dar Dowlatshahi was interviewed by the Ottawa Sun, about a report on the signs of a stroke.  Since 2003, the number of in-hospital deaths following a stroke has decreased to 17% from 26%. But according to Dr. Dowlatshahi, every 15 minutes a person waits for treatment after a stroke, there’s a 4% likelihood they won’t walk out of the hospital.  There are two particular points that stand out to him. “The biggest problem that I saw that was also surprising was that only one-third of people know the signs and symptoms of stroke, despite half of Canadians having a friend or family member who’s suffered a stroke,” said Dowlatshahi.

 John Bell and two long-time research collaborators have co-founded Turnstone Biologics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing cancer immunotherapies. Turnstone combines discoveries on cancer-fighting (oncolytic) viruses and vaccines from Dr. Bell, Dr. David Stojdl (from CHEO and uOttawa) and Dr. Brian Lichty (from McMaster University).  The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust also played key roles in creating the company.

Garth Nicholas led two studies on lung cancer clinical trials.  The trials focus on Reolysin (an oncolytic virus) and Selumetinib (a new targeted small-molecule therapy). Dr. Nicholas and a 17-member team of clinical cancer researchers won the “Investigational New Drug Program Team Award” from the National Cancer Institute of Canada for their dedication to the success of two lung cancer clinical trials. The award recognizes the contributions of a non-MD team of clinical research associates, nurses, pharmacists and others toward the number of patients enrolled in the studies, ethics compliance, timeliness of data entry, and overall team work.