Study Results

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May 1, 2015

Research team discovers a new way to fight pancreatic cancer with viruses
Dr. John Bell, a CIHR-funded researcher from the Centre for Innovative Cancer Therapeutics at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, has figured out a new way to fight pancreatic cancer. Using a mouse model, his team discovered that when normal cells communicate with cancer cells to help develop a pancreatic tumour, they release a protein called FGF2. This causes the disease to become vulnerable to oncolytic viruses, which target and kill cancer but allow normal cells to remain healthy. The discovery could lead to clinical trials that would foster new treatments for pancreatic cancer patients. The oncolytic viruses are developed at BioCanRx, a network that encourages collaboration among researchers of different scientific disciplines in the fight against cancer. The network is led by Dr. Bell as scientific director and receives $25 million in funding through the Government of Canada’s Network of Centres of Excellence, as well as additional support from industry, provinces and national charities.

April 9, 2015

Surgical procedure reduces irregular heart rhythm
An international clinical trial, co-funded by CIHR, has determined that a procedure called surgical cardiac ablation can reduce dangerous and irregular heart rhythm. Surgical cardiac ablation is often used by heart surgeons during mitral valve operations, as a way to help restore proper blood flow in the human heart. But the procedure had never been tested for effectiveness and safety. This study, led by Dr. Marc Gillinov through the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network, analyzed the results of 260 patients who had atrial fibrillation at 20 research centres in Canada and the United States. Those who received surgical cardiac ablation were free of the irregular heart rhythm one year after they had received mitral valve operations. However, subjects were 2.5 times more likely to need permanent pacemakers. Dr. Gillinov says that further research needs to be conducted in order to understand why this is the case.

March 18, 2015

CIHR-funded clinical study could revolutionize medical diagnostic imaging
CIHR-funded researchers at Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) have potentially found a green alternative for diagnosing medical problems through use of X-Rays that would eliminate nuclear waste. Technetium (or Tc-99m) is a radioactive element that’s commonly injected into patients to help doctors assess medical problems through X-Ray images – and is produced in nuclear reactors. In a clinical study, Centre de recherche du CHUS researchers injected Tc-99m that was created in a cyclotron (a particle accelerator) into 11 patients. Their results demonstrated that this still led to the production of clear images and helped in the diagnosis of thyroid problems in the patients. Researchers now plan to analyze whether this new way of generating the liquid element can diagnose more complex medical problems, like pulmonary embolisms. If their tests prove to be successful, the cyclotron’s Tc-99m could be developed on a large scale due to low costs and then incorporated into hospitals.