September Kudos

Publications and Quality

Fraser Scott recently published an article in Endocrinology.  Research from Dr. Scott’s group treated diabetes-prone rats with a compound that induces HO-1 (called CoPP) and found that the incidence of diabetes was cut by more than half. The treatment resulted in a major accumulation of anti-inflammatory immune cells in the pancreas (the key organ involved in diabetes) and there were signs of regeneration of insulin-producing cells. Although CoPP is not suitable for human use, another compound that induces HO-1 is suitable, so a clinical trial of this approach might be feasible in the near future. Co-authors: Mahmoud Husseini…

Glen Goss, co-lead the world’s largest clinical trial, published in Lancet Oncology.  The study, which compared two targeted therapies for advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, has found that a newer therapy called afatinib decreased the risk of cancer progression and the risk of death by 19% compared to an older therapy called erlotinib. The trial involved nearly 800 patients in 23 countries. A number of patients at TOH participated in the trial, and many more are now poised to benefit from this therapy. Co-authors: Jean-Charles Soria…

Gwynne Jones and Lauralyn McIntyre published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Together with their colleagues participated in a landmark multi-centre clinical trial that challenged the premise that critically ill patients should receive the current standard high calorie diet. The current study found that while a strategy of reducing calories by 40-60% of current requirements did not reduce the 90-day mortality rate, it also caused no harm. This study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that current high calorie feeding in critically ill patients does not improve outcomes. Further research is required in critically ill patients such as those with acute renal failure, septic shock and the malnourished to determine the best feeding strategies. Co-authors: Arabi YM…

Greg Knoll awarded $3.9 million to create and translate knowledge in kidney transplantation.  Dr. Knoll is one of seven scientists at TOH recently awarded Foundation Grants by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Knoll’s team will receive $3.9 million over seven years to undertake patient-centered research related to kidney transplantation. The new funding will support the translation of kidney transplantation knowledge into clinical practice to enhance health outcomes for patients, train the next generation of kidney transplant researchers and develop a knowledge base for future research. Co-investigators from Ottawa: Dean Fergusson, Alan Forster, Shawn Marshall, Tim Ramsay, Dawn Stacey, Monica Taljaard, Anne Tsampalieros, Carl van Walraven.

Carl van Walraven published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine titled: The Utility of Unplanned Early Hospital Readmissions as a Health Care Quality Indicator.  One limitation of the study, Dr. van Walraven acknowledged, is the data didn’t allow them to calculate how considering individual patient characteristics might impact readmission rates at specific hospitals. Even so, the findings suggest that the current Medicare penalty system for repeat hospitalizations may put facilities serving poor communities at a distinct financial disadvantage. Dr. Van Walraven was also quoted in a Fox News story on a U. S. Study indicating poverty may increase odds of repeat hospitalizations.  

David Stewart published an article in Medscape and presented the findings at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer.  Dr. Stewart was quoted as saying a “huge” number of life-years is being unnecessarily lost because of delays in cancer drug approvals. Every hour lost to the cancer drug regulatory process costs 29 life-years in the United States and 260 life-years worldwide.  New anticancer drugs can prolong survival, but often in only a modest way. In fact, on average it is just a few months. “However, for some, it is 2 or 3 years, or longer, and despite being fairly modest [for most], it’s very important to patients.”

David Stewart presented findings in Cure about the overregulation of new drug development at the 2015 World Conference on Lung Cancer, a meeting of over 7,000 oncology professionals.  Dr. Stewart noted the overregulation has driven up the cost of care and resulted in significant loss of human life by delaying the approval of effective medications.

 

Media

Tim Asmis was interviewed by CBC about challenges faced by Inuit in Nunavut who require cancer treatment. Dr. Asmis recently published a study showing that 30% of cancer patients in the Baffin region are not referred for chemotherapy or radiation at The Ottawa Hospital – their designated cancer centre.

Kumanan Wilson was interviewed by iMedicalApps about the ImmunizeCA app, which helps Canadians track their vaccinations and provides information on vaccine-preventable outbreaks.

Announcements:

Alan Forster appeared The Medical Post, Canada’s Top Physician Power Brokers to Watch.  To hear Dr. Alan Forster tell it, patients are experts in hospital care. “Patients are the best people to give us a sense as to whether care has met expectations,” Dr. Forster told the Ottawa Citizen last fall. This was in relation to post-discharge calls, which were one metric used to help the hospital identify reasons for readmissions, design targeted interventions to address the problem and help boost the facility into the top 10% of hospitals in North America for quality of care. “The more we partner with other people and agencies in our community, the better off our patients will be,” said Dr. Forster.

Jeff Turnbull appeared in The Medical Post, Power List 50 of Canada’s Most Important Doctors.  Dr. Turnbull’s influence on how Canadian doctors think about the most vulnerable cannot be understated. He raised significant money to start up the Inner City Health Project for the homeless in Ottawa. He is one of the founders of the project (which provides addiction, hospice, clinic and other services) and its medical director. One of the big innovations at the project is the Targeted Engagement and Diversion program. Now when homeless people come into contact with police or ambulance workers in a situation where they would normally be taken to an emergency department, homeless people in the program (about 250) are instead diverted to Inner City, saving the system money and providing more appropriate care.

Andrew Pipe appeared in The Medical Post, Power List 50 of Canada’s Most Important Doctors.  Dr. Pipe’s Professional passions include team doctor for Canada’s national men’s basketball team—a position he’s held since 1978, anti-doping and fair play in sports and, most prominently, his stance on smoking. For nearly three decades, Dr. Pipe has been the country’s foremost expert on smoking cessation and cardiovascular disease prevention. The Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation approached all inpatients at the TOH about their smoking status. If the patient smoked, they were offered assistance during and after the hospital stay. The program was an early success, and at least 350 sites across Canada are following suit.

John Bell appeared in Ottawa’s Life Magazine and was named among Ottawa’s Top 25 People in Ottawa.

Ottawa Life magazine named Dr. John Bell and Aditya Mohan among its Top 25 People in Ottawa for 2015. Dr. Bell was cited for his global leadership in developing cancer-fighting viruses, while 18-year-old Mohan was cited for numerous prestigious high school science fair awards under the mentorship of Dr. Angela Crawley.

Rashmi Kothary and his team were mentioned in the OHRI News about a breakthrough of a rare inherited nerve disease that results in death before the age of two. Dr. Kothary and his team examined mice with dystonin mutations and found that their sensory neurons were all clogged up with partially recycled cellular components. Their research shows that the dystonin protein plays a key role in transporting these partially recycled materials to the final recycling centres (called lysosomes). Further research could lead to new therapies for HSAN-VI, as well as many other neurological diseases that are linked to problems with cellular waste recycling. Co-authors: Andrew Ferrier…

Successful Principal Investigators for Operating Grants within the Department of Medicine:

  • Marjorie Brand (Molecular biology of leukemia),
  • Shane English and Lauralyn McIntyre (Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage),
  • Lauralyn McIntyre and Monica Taljaard (Fluid resuscitation in critical care),
  • Robin Parks (Virology)
  • David Picketts (Epigenetics)
  • Alan Tinmouth and others (Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation)
  • Alan Tinmouth (Blood donation)

Jeremy Grimshaw has been elected co-chair of the Campbell Collaboration, an international research network that produces systematic reviews on the effects of social interventions in crime and justice, education, international development and social welfare. Dr. Grimshaw is a long standing contributor to The Cochrane Collaboration, which focuses on health-related systematic reviews, and he has led Cochrane Canada since 2005. He has completed 35 systematic reviews (including 10 Cochrane reviews) on a wide range of topics.