Awards

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Orthogonal multicolour high-affinity tags for RNA imaging and manipulation

RNA plays a very important role in the regulation of gene expression. Yet, the spatial and temporal dynamics of RNA are still poorly understood, mainly due to the scarcity of effective and simple RNA imaging and purification techniques.

The development of technologies that simultaneously allow imaging, purification and manipulation of multiple RNAs in live cells promises to enable the study of RNA in development, metabolism and disease, which is essential for understanding the control of gene expression in diseases such as autism, cancers and type II diabetes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The effects of balance training with or without cognitive training in older adults with MCI and impaired mobility

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between normal cognitive function and dementia. The rate of progression of MCI to dementia in older adults has been found to be between 10-12% per year, whereas those without cognitive impairment acquire dementia at a rate of only 1-2% per year. MCI has been linked to poor dual-tasking, impaired balance and functional mobility, and is a significant risk factor for falls. Individuals with MCI need preventive therapies that target both the cognitive and mobility-related outcomes. Dr.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Servo-controlled device to maintain physiological functioning

300,000 individuals live with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the US alone, of which 180,000 suffer from orthostatic hypotension, sudden falls in blood pressure upon standing. Such dysregulated blood pressure can also be caused by multiple sclerosis, autonomic failure, autonomic neuropathy, or neurological cancers. A high quality, efficient, and cost effective method is needed to help these individuals regulate their blood pressure.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Liquid skin substitute accelerates burn and non-healing wounds

Self-expanded mesh grafts are routinely used to treat large burn injuries and skin defects. Although this treatment saves lives, the healed tissue has a fish net-like appearance, a disfigurement that can be devastating for patients. Furthermore, chronic and non-healing wounds seen in the elderly and diabetic patients and those with disabilities such as spinal cord injured patients are the most difficult and costly to treat. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Smart Text Analytic Tools (STAT) for analysis of patient-centred communications to strengthen health systems in BC

Healthcare stakeholders, including health authorities, facilities, pharmaceutical companies and insurers are increasingly acknowledging the importance of big data to enhance understanding of health behaviours and health systems. Existing analytic tools available to navigate the volume of diverse data types at a frequency that can match the speed at which data is generated are in early stages of development, and often lack validation due to limited access to health data.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Near infrared spectroscopy for the hemodynamic monitoring of acute spinal cord injury

One of the only treatments that could potentially improve paralysis in patients who have suffered an acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is the elevation of the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) to provide enough blood supply to the injured spinal cord. It is, however, difficult to know what the MAP target should be for a given patient to optimize their neurologic recovery. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Genomic Organization At Large (GOALS) predicts aggressive biological behaviour in prostate and breast cancers

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer for men in North America. Prostate cancer deaths have been in decline since the mid-1990s after the discovery of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), which, when used for screening, results in a steep increase in the number of early diagnoses. A large percent of these PSA-detected cases do not express clinically, are slow growing, and do not require treatment, and therefore do not contribute significantly to overall mortality. Conversely, some slow growing cancers are very aggressive and result in death. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Development of a novel organ preservation solution in transplantation

There is a need to improve donor organ preservation strategies to meet donor organ requirements for transplantation. Strategies such as cold flushing and organ preservation solutions are common practices to mitigate organ damage incurred during the transplant procurement, transport and implantation processes, but these solutions can be inadequate for marginal or extended criteria donors (ECD) that are being used in response to increased demand. New organ preservation solutions that are more effective in protecting donor organs, particularly from ECD, are required to fill this gap.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

DNA-PK inhibitors for use in combination with radiation therapy

Half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy, impacting about seven million people worldwide each year. Enhancing tumour sensitivity to radiotherapy would have a far reaching and significant impact on patients with many kinds of cancer. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Development of a novel biotherapeutic fusion protein inhibitor for treatment of advanced prostate cancer

Recent advances in targeted therapies have transformed the treatment of several types of cancer. Numerous agents, including small molecule drugs and therapeutic antibodies targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) such as EGFR, Her-2 and MET, are currently in clinical trials or have received regulatory approval. These agents are exhibiting impressive clinical responses demonstrating that these RTK pathways are clinically validated drug targets and key drivers of multiple cancers such as breast, lung and colorectal cancers. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Preclinical evaluation of gentamicin B1 as treatment for inherited skin fragility disorders caused by nonsense mutations

More than 5,000 rare genetic diseases affect over one million Canadians. Most have no treatment and many patients die in childhood. The small number of patients each of these diseases affects makes it difficult to develop treatments. However, about 10% of cases are due to a nonsense mutation that creates a premature termination codon (PTC); the protein produced is consequently cut short at the mutation and cannot function. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

A novel therapeutic for inflammatory skin diseases

Granzyme B (GzmB), an immune-secreted serine protease, is abundant in skin conditions characterized by excessive inflammation (such as burns, blisters, or scarring) at the hair follicle or at or just under the epidermis, and has been identified as a therapeutic target for autoimmune and chronic skin diseases. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Novel 18F-fluorinated amino acids as oncological PET radiotracers

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a non-invasive imaging technique used to detect tumours and provide information about a patient’s response to treatment. PET generates a 3D image of the inside of a patient’s body and highlights the location of tumors through detection of a radiotracer administered before generating the image. One of the most common forms of radiotracers are small, drug-like molecules containing a radioisotope that bind to or accumulate in cancer cells, precisely locating tumours. 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2017

Improving whole-genome sequencing as a clinical test for intellectual disability

Intellectual disability (ID) is a life-long affliction that impairs the cognitive functioning and adaptive behavior of affected individuals. About two to three percent of people worldwide suffer from ID. ID is mostly caused by irregularities in the DNA of an individual and is the most common reason for genetic testing. There are thousands of different mutations that we now know can cause ID. Diagnosis is necessary for accurate and effective genetic counselling, however deciphering the underlying genetic component remains a challenge.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Elucidating the effect of O-GlcNAc modification on protein stability

The glycosylation of proteins with O-GlcNAc is a ubiquitous post-translational modification found throughout the metazoans. Deregulation of O-GlcNAcylation is implicated in several human diseases including type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.

However, the basic biochemical roles of O-GlcNAcylation remain largely unanswered. Several recent studies have demonstrated a clear link between O-GlcNAc and cellular thermotolerance.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Development of improved substrates for live cell imaging to aid in discovering new glucocerebrosidase therapeutic agents

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, with no standard treatment currently available. Therefore, there is a major need for new therapeutic agents to treat or prevent the progression of PD. One promising solution involves targeting the protein glucocerebrosidase (GCase) encoded by the gene GBA1. Studies have shown small molecules that increase GCase activity could help prevent the progression of PD.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The acute impact of spinal cord injury on cardiac function, and novel hemodynamic management in SCI patients

Following acute spinal cord injury (SCI), one of the only presently available neuroprotective strategies is to try and optimize management of spinal cord blood flow. This treatment specifically aims to immediately increase blood flow to the injured spinal cord tissue to prevent the spread of injury to surrounding spinal cord tissues.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The role of PCSK9 in clearance of bacterial lipids and the development of anti-PCSK9 treatment for sepsis

Sepsis, which is characterized as an uncontrolled inflammatory response to severe infection, is the leading cause of death in intensive care units. In Canada, sepsis led to a total of 13,500 deaths in 2011, which translates to approximately one in 18 deaths in Canada involving sepsis. Despite this pressing medical need, there are currently no effective treatments for sepsis. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

Evolutionary determinants of treatment resistant high grade serous ovarian cancer investigated at single cell resolution

Women diagnosed with high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGS) continue to face poor prognosis, with ten-year survival at only 30-40%. Surgical cytoreduction followed by platinum and taxane-based chemotherapy result in clinical remission for a majority of patients. However, up to 80% of patients will suffer relapse because their disease is treatment resistant. Improved outcomes for HGS require both biomarkers of treatment resistance and development of additional treatments targeting tumour cells resistant to first line therapies.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

The real-world effectiveness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment on decompensated cirrhosis and hospitalizations

Between 230,000 to 450,000 Canadians are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Most of these people were infected decades ago and remained untreated due to the severe side effects and low effectiveness of interferon-based treatment regimens. Therefore, HCV associated liver related morbidity and mortality are now on the rise, with substantial impact on health care utilization. 

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2017

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