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July 10, 2015

Launch of a clinical trial on an innovative cancer therapy

Canadian researchers have launched the world’s first clinical trial of a novel investigational therapy that uses a combination of two viruses to attack and kill cancer cells, and stimulate an anti-cancer immune response. The therapy was jointly discovered and is being developed by Dr. David Stojdl (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa), Dr. Brian Lichty (McMaster University) and Dr. John Bell (The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa), and their respective research teams and colleagues. The clinical trial, which is funded by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and coordinated by the NCIC Clinical Trials Group, is expected to enroll up to 79 patients at four hospitals across Canada. Both CIHR and the new BioCanRx are supporting this research.

July 8, 2015

CIHR mourns the passing of Dr. Claude Roy

It is with great sadness that CIHR marks the passing of Dr. Claude Roy, a pioneer in the field of gastroenterology and nutrition and a distinguished clinician-scientist on faculty at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte Justine at the University of Montreal. Dr. Roy is known for having co-authored the first textbook on pediatric gastroenterology, which is still widely considered the bible in this medical specialty. He joined the clinical staff of Sainte Justine’s in 1974 and became Director of the hospital’s Research Institute in 1978. Throughout his career, Professor Roy championed the importance of research in medical training. Dr. Roy contributed to the development of Canada’s health research community as a council member of CIHR’s predecessor, the Medical Research Council of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) in 2013 in honour of his outstanding contributions as a clinician, researcher and teacher. “Claude was a fabulous mentor, career advisor, and role model for a generation of pediatric health researchers both here in Canada and around the world,” recalls Philip Sherman, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.

Watch Canadian Medical Hall of Fame video about Dr. Roy

July 6, 2015

CIHR congratulates the latest recipients of the Order of Canada

CIHR is pleased to recognize the latest recipients of the Order of Canada from the CIHR family and from the health research community. Governing Council member Michèle Fortin was appointed a Member of the Order for her contributions to the vitality of French-language and education television, most recently in her role as head of Télé-Québec. Dr. Anthony Phillips, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, was appointed a Member for his achievements in the field of neuroscience, and most notably his research on addiction and mental health. Former Governing Council member Dr. Janet Rossant was promoted to Companion – the highest level within the Order – for advancing the global understanding of embryo and stem cell biology and for her national and international leadership in health science. Congratulations to Dr. Phillips, Ms. Fortin and Dr. Rossant and to all members of the health research community who were honoured for their outstanding contributions to health science, research and clinical care.

June 9, 2015

African Population and Health Research Center wins UN Population Award

The Kenya-based African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) has won the 2015 United Nations Population Award, which is given annually to individuals and institutions for exceptional work and achievement in the fields of population and health. APHRC was honoured for its efforts to support health policy research, to train the next generation of African researchers, and to improve the African higher education system. The Center is part of a consortium funded by CIHR and its partners, the International Development Research Centre and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada under their joint initiative, “Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa”.

June 5, 2015

New portal for Canadian clinical research capabilities launched: CCTAM

On June 4th, Senator Kelvin Ogilvie launched the Canadian Clinical Trials Asset Map (CCTAM), a national database compiling Canada’s clinical research capacities. This dynamic, online database includes details on clinical trial sites, research networks, research ethics boards, research organizations/institutions and individual clinical research experts. The CCTAM is part of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research’s (SPOR) efforts to improve the environment for clinical trials in Canada. The new portal will help market Canada as a leading destination for clinical trials in the global marketplace, providing a comprehensive picture of the breadth and depth of Canada’s clinical research assets.

May 26, 2015

Phil Branton and Cy Frank inducted into the Order of Canada

CIHR would like to congratulate Dr. Phil Branton and the late Dr. Cy Frank, inaugural Scientific Directors of CIHR’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) respectively, for being inducted into the Order of Canada. His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presided over the ceremony on May 8, which annually recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Dr. Branton, who is currently a professor in biochemistry at McGill University, was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his role as one of the nation’s most influential cancer research strategists. As Scientific Director of CIHR-ICR, he led the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, created the first national tumour bank repository, launched the Palliative and End of Life Care initiative and funded the Access to Quality Cancer Care initiative. As co-chair of the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, Dr. Branton also played a leadership role in the development of a coherent and integrated approach to cancer research. As a researcher, he has furthered the overall understanding of tumour viruses and how normal cells can become malignant.

Dr. Frank, who passed away in March 2015, was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. As Scientific Director of CIHR-IMHA, he created innovative research and training programs that demonstrated the importance of skin, oral and musculoskeletal health research in improving the health of Canadians. He was the founder of the Alberta Bone and Joint Institute, served as a clinical scientist and professor at the University of Calgary, and helped develop methods for grafting and repairing injured knee ligaments as well as preventing joint osteoarthritis.

May 19, 2015

CIHR President named honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR, has been named a 2015 honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). He is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to research, scholarship, and innovation and leadership in health research. RCPSC particularly noted Dr. Beaudet’s basic research at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), which focused on how neuropeptides communicate in the central nervous system and the development of new pain therapies. They also highlighted his tenure as the MNI’s assistant director (research) from 1985 to 1992, and his outstanding leadership of CIHR since 2008. RCPSC is the home of specialty care in Canada, setting the standards for postgraduate medical education, supporting the continuing professional development of 47,000 doctors, and supporting health system innovations nationwide. Dr. Beaudet will receive the honorary fellowship at the Royal College Convocation ceremony in October 2015.

May 15, 2015

  • CIHR mourns the loss of Barbara Turnbull

    It is with great sadness that CIHR marks the passing of Barbara Turnbull, a renowned champion of research into spinal cord injuries. A highly-respected reporter for the Toronto Star and victim of a spinal cord injury, Ms. Turnbull created a non-profit charitable foundation in her name that promotes and supports spinal cord research.

    In 2001, her foundation, in collaboration with CIHR’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction and the Brain Canada Foundation, created the annual $50,000 Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research. This award recognizes a researcher's exceptional work in spinal cord injury protection, repair and function recovery. Ms. Turnbull was a tireless supporter of rights for the physically disabled, and her foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for spinal cord injury research. In 2012, she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. She will be sorely missed.

  • Tuberculosis: Facts and research

    Learn about tuberculosis, its surprising prevalence in Canada and the groundbreaking CIHR-funded research that’s being conducted to fight it.

May 13, 2015

Dr. Cara Tannenbaum is one of the 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction

CIHR is proud to announce that Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Scientific Director of the Institute of Gender and Health (IGH), is one of the winners of the YWCA Montreal’s 2015 Women of Distinction Awards. These awards celebrate women, their remarkable achievements, and their contributions to society.

Dr. Tannenbaum was chosen as the Woman of Distinction in the Health category. She is a Professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal with a long-standing interest and leadership in the field of gender and health. She conducted the first-ever pan-Canadian study on older women's and men's unmet health priorities, and led Health Canada's Health Policy Research Program on the development of gender-sensitive mental health indicators. In addition to spearheading the Canadian National Strategy to reduce over prescription of drugs to older men and women, she is currently leading the "Dare to Age Well for Women" trial across Canada, the United Kingdom and France.

As a practicing internist/geriatrician and women's health specialist, Dr. Tannenbaum continues to treat men and women with a variety of health problems, fueling her understanding of and passion for driving evidence-based improvements in health for men and women across the lifespan. Diseases manifest differently depending on gender and, for Dr. Tannenbaum, the key to a healthier life for everyone is through research on how sex and gender affect treatment.

The 13 Women of Distinction Award winners will be officially honoured at a ceremony to be held on September 29 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

May 11, 2015

CIHR’s inaugural president inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame [ PDF (415 KB) - external link ]

Dr. Alan Bernstein, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s first president, has been named a 2015 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame inductee for his tremendous advancements in medicine and the medical sciences. His groundbreaking research in isolating gene (KIT) that helps in the formation of tumours served as the basis for important advances in cancer therapy. He has also made extensive contributions to the study of embryonic development, stem cell research and hematopoiesis (the formation of blood cells), and is the author of over 225 papers in various publications.

As director of research for the Samuel Lunenfeld Institute (1994-2000), he served as a mentor to countless students and researchers. As President of CIHR (2000-2007), Dr. Bernstein ensured that Canada’s federal funding agency for health research expanded its support of scientists from those in biomedical and clinical fields to those in social sciences as well. He also oversaw the development of the agency’s 13 Institutes and encouraged collaboration among funded researchers. From 2008-2011, he was Executive Director and CEO of Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York, an alliance of independent organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine. Since 2012, Dr. Bernstein has been President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, an institution that brings together 400 of top researchers from around the world to address questions of global importance to humanity.

In 2002, Dr. Bernstein was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has received six honorary degrees and is Senior Fellow of both Massey College (at the University of Toronto) and the Munk School of Global Affairs. Dr. Bernstein holds a BSc in Mathematics and Physics and a PhD in medical biophysics from the University of Toronto. He completed his postdoctoral work in London at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.

April 22, 2015

CIHR congratulates Dr. Janet Rossant for receiving Gairdner Award

Congratulations to Dr. Janet Rossant, Senior Scientist in Development and Stem Cell Biology Program and Chief of Research at the Hospital for Sick Children, who has received the 2015 Canada Gairdner Wightman award for her groundbreaking work in the fields of developmental and stem cell biology. This $100,000 award is one of three different Gairdner Awards presented on an annual basis to the world’s best and brightest biomedical researchers.

Dr. Rossant’s work, which is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), focuses on understanding how stem cells function in the mouse embryo and, as a result, help to create genes. She hopes that this research will lead to the use of stem cells as a medical treatment for various human diseases.

Dr. Rossant is a former member of CIHR’s Governing Council and also chaired a CIHR working group on stem cell research that led to the development of guidelines for funded-researchers in this area.

Over 320 people have received Gairdner awards since their creation in 1959, and 82 have subsequently won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Rossant is the first woman to win the Gairdner Wightman Award.

April 17, 2015

Government of Canada welcomes new Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada

Minister Ambrose announced the appointment of Michael Wilson as the new Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada's Board of Directors. The Government of Canada created the Mental Health Commission of Canada to act as a catalyst for change in mental health, advancing the promotion of mental health and prevention of mental illness in Canada. Mr. Wilson is also Vice-Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Governing Council.

March 19, 2015

International launch of epigenome data portal

Large IHEC Data Release: Over 5500 datasets now accessible via the IHEC Data Portal

The IHEC Data Portal was developed to integrate and distribute datasets produced by various IHEC (International Human Epigenome Consortium) member consortia. The Portal was created by the team of Dr. Guillaume Bourque at McGill University, through a project funded under the CIHR Canadian Epigenetics, Environment, and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC). The Portal implements a database and a graphical interface that currently hosts 5667 epigenomic datasets. It provides an overview of all the whole genome experiments produced by IHEC members, categorized by providers, tissue types and assay types. It implements a dynamic grid that can be used to navigate through the datasets and provides links to either visualize the data in a genome browser or download it. A new feature expected for the Data Portal in the near future is a tool for correlation analysis, to provide insights on the similarity of different assays and tissues. By facilitating data distribution and interpretation, the IHEC Data Portal helps accelerate the translation of epigenomics knowledge into health and disease applications. The Portal has also received support from CANARIE, Génome Québec, Génome Canada and Compute Canada.

March 18, 2015

University of Toronto researcher wins L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award

Dr. Molly Shoichet, a professor and researcher at the University of Toronto, is one of five outstanding women scientists who have won this year's Women in Science Awards sponsored by the L'Oreal Foundation and UNESCO. Dr. Shoichet is one of Canada's leading experts in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

March 17, 2015

February 27, 2015

Ensuring the future of mothers and children in sub-Saharan Africa

On February 25, 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support to 20 research teams that will help identify, test, and deliver practical, cost-effective solutions to improve maternal and child health in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. The Prime Minister made the announcement following a meeting with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. This is part of a 7-year, $36 million program funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

February 6, 2015

January 15, 2015

CIHR mourns the loss of Dr. Patricia Martens

CIHR-funded Dr. Patricia Martens, a Distinguished Professor in the College of Medicine and Senior Scientist at the University of Manitoba, died on January 10, 2015. As former Director of the internationally-acclaimed Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, Dr. Martens’ work focused on health status, health care, inequities, mental health, child health, and breastfeeding. CIHR supported her “PATHS Equity for Children” study, awarded her with a 2005 Knowledge Translation Award for her work with The Need to Know team, and funded her as co-lead of the pan-Canadian CIHR Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNOD). She was also vice-chair of CIHR-Institute of Population and Public Health advisory board‎ and recipient of a CIHR Applied Public Health Chair. Dr. Martens spoke at 400 conferences, published over 300 articles, reports, book chapters and abstracts, and, in 2013, was inducted a member of the Order of Canada for her “advancement of population health research and her contributions to health policy in Manitoba.”

January 13, 2015

CIHR Congratulates Recipients of the Order of Canada from the Health Research Community

CIHR congratulates Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, Scientific Director of the CIHR’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, on her appointment as a member of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors. Dr. Tamblyn’s research in physician training, health system monitoring and prescription drug management has contributed significantly to patient safety. CIHR also acknowledges the induction of Dr. Alva Dicenso, Dr. Serge Gauthier, Dr. John G. Kelton, Dr. Julio Montaner and Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif. These CIHR-funded researchers are being recognized for their positive contributions to health innovation in various scientific fields across Canada.