Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Annual Report 2014-2015

Top News

A look at some of the year’s research highlights

Reversing aging in muscle stem cells
Dr. Michael Rudnicki discovers why muscle stem cells lose their capacity to repair damage as the body ages, bringing regenerative therapies for muscle diseases closer to reality. The study is published in Nature Medicine.
Blood thinners don’t prevent pregnancy complications
Thousands of women around the world are now able to avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful blood thinner injections during pregnancy, thanks to the results of a major international clinical trial led by Dr. Marc Rodger and published in The Lancet.
Viruses and drugs combine to form potent anti-cancer therapy
A study led by Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo and published in Nature Communications reveals that compounds that disrupt our cells’ inner skeleton can greatly enhance oncolytic virus therapy for cancer.
Stem cell breakthrough for stiff person syndrome
Two women completely recover from stiff person syndrome, a debilitating auto-immune disease, after Dr. Harold Atkins and the Stem Cell Transplant team apply their innovative research to treat this rare condition. Their experience is described in JAMA Neurology.
Appetite-suppressing drug could also fight anxiety
A study led by Dr. Hsiao-Huei Chen and published in Neuron reveals a new biological pathway that regulates anxiety and obesity, and suggests that a drug currently in clinical trials to treat obesity might also provide a promising way to combat anxiety disorders.
“Game-changing” new drug developed for hepatitis C
An international clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that new antiviral medications can cure close to 100% of people with Hepatitis C, a potentially-deadly liver disease. Dr. Curtis Cooper led the Ottawa site of the trial.
Old blood as good as fresh
A large international clinical trial finds that contrary to popular belief, blood stored for three weeks is just as good as fresh blood for transfusions in critically ill patients. The study was led by Drs. Dean Fergusson, Alan Tinmouth and others, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Big boost for cancer biotherapeutics
Dr. John Bell launches BioCanRx, a $60M national network dedicated to developing biotherapeutics that have shown promise in treating and even curing many cancers with minimal side effects.
Enhancing stem cell therapy for vascular disease
Drs. Marjorie Brand and David Allan discover that it is possible to dramatically enhance the therapeutic potential of vascular stem cells by pre-treating them with epigenetic drugs that change gene activity prior to transplantation. Published in Cell Stem Cell, this research has the potential to improve stem cell therapy for heart disease, stroke, and other diseases that involve the blood vessels.
DNA test slashes wait times for tuberculosis diagnosis in Iqaluit
Dr. Gonzalo Alvarez finds that a DNA test for tuberculosis allows patients in Iqaluit to be diagnosed and treated in less than two days, compared to the previous process that could take a week to more than a month. The results are published in CHEST Journal.
How do your habits impact your health and life expectancy?
Dr. Doug Manuel creates an online calculator to help Ontarians estimate their life expectancy and the amount of time they can expect to spend in hospital due to their habits and lifestyle choices.
How to kill chemo-resistant ovarian cancer cells
Dr. Benjamin Tsang discovers a potential biomarker and new treatment approach for chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer, based on a protein called gelsolin. The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Surprising study could save lives of kidney transplant patients
Drs. Greg Knoll and Dean Fergusson find that a drug that lowers the risk of cancer in kidney transplant patients actually increases the overall risk of death compared to other drugs. The clinical trial is published in the British Medical Journal.
New stroke treatment saves lives
People with severe strokes now have access to a life-saving clot-removal procedure, thanks to an international clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Ottawa site of the trial was led by Drs. Cheemun Lum and Dariush Dowlatshahi.
Collaboration and respect enhance patient safety climate
Dr. Ginette Rodger and her team find that the Interprofessional Model of Patient Care, implemented at The Ottawa Hospital in 2006, has contributed to a better patient safety climate by enhancing collaboration and respect. An analysis of the model, led by Dr. Milisa Manojlovich, is published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.
Using math to understand disease
Dr. Ted Perkins solves a 50-year-old math problem and uses the solution to help analyze how proteins fold – an important issue in many diseases. The study is published in Nature Communications.
Better reporting of research enhances impact
Dr. David Moher is a world leader in developing guidelines on how to report research to ensure that results have the greatest impact. His latest contribution, published in the British Medical Journal, addresses protocols for systematic reviews.
More exercise is better for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
Dr. Roanne Segal finds that exercise can help breast cancer patients cope with chemotherapy, and more exercise is better, especially for younger, fitter patients. The results are published in the British Journal of Cancer.