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3, 2, 1... Might one dose of HPV vaccine be enough to prevent HPV-associated cancer?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a prerequisite for the development of cervical cancer. Screening for cervical cancer after HPV infection is possible by cervical smear testing, and since 2006 direct prevention of HPV infection has been available in the form of three different vaccines.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Optimizing PrEP and TasP adherence among substance using gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men

While increased access to HIV treatment and other health services has contributed to significant declines in HIV among several key populations in British Columbia (BC), it is estimated that as many as 1 in 6 gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Mifepristone outcomes study: Examining abortion access, outcomes, and costs following the introduction of mifepristone

Abortion is a common reproductive health procedure, with nearly one-third of women in Canada having had at least one abortion. However, abortion access is not equitable. Most abortions are surgical, and are provided in a small number of facilities located in BC’s largest cities. Some women, particularly those in rural or remote regions, experience significant wait times and must travel long distances to reach abortion services.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Increasing HPV vaccine uptake in grade 6 girls and boys in the school-based immunization program in British Columbia

Human papillomaviruses (HPV) can lead to cervical cancer and other anogenital, head, and neck cancers in both women and men. A safe and effective vaccine against the most common types of HPV associated with cancer was introduced in 2008 into BC’s exemplary school immunization program. However, rates of HPV vaccine uptake have remained low, with less than 70% of eligible students receiving the vaccine each year.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Targeting the complement system in Alzheimer’s disease

Many seniors aged 65 or older experience “age-associated memory impairment,” a normal aging process. However, Alzheimer’s disease is different, and not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease with gradual loss of nerve cells and resulting problems with thinking, memory, and movement. Changes in the brain can start to happen 20 years before any memory problems appear.

Currently, no treatments are available to cure Alzheimer’s disease; however, if the disease is diagnosed and treated at an early stage, patients have a greatly improved quality of life.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Investigating the role of skeletal muscle dysfunction on dyspnea and exercise intolerance in interstitial lung disease

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a group of disorders characterized by fibrosis and inflammation of the lungs. Dyspnea (i.e., breathlessness) is the most common symptom in ILD. To minimize dyspnea, ILD patients commonly avoid physical activity, leading to a progressive decline in exercise capacity, and eventually the inability to perform daily activities. Maintaining exercise capacity is important, given that ILD patients with the lowest physical activity levels have the lowest quality of life and the highest mortality.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Structural valve degeneration in bioprosthetic heart valves

Bioprosthetic heart valves (BPHVs), valves made of biologic tissues rather than synthetic materials, have revolutionized the treatment of heart valve disease, which constitutes a significant health and economic burden in BC, Canada and around the world. BPHVs serve as an alternative to mechanical valves, which require lifelong treatment to prevent clotting and therefore lead to an increased risk of bleeding.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Effect of exogenous ketone supplementation on brain blood flow, metabolism, and cognitive function in Type II Diabetes

Exogenous ketone body (KB) ingestion is an emerging therapeutic strategy for combating the harmful health conditions associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D), including a heightened risk for neurological disease and cognitive decline.

Evidence from animal models and early studies in humans supports its potential; however, high-quality research trials examining the effect of KB ingestion on brain function in humans with T2D have not been performed.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Improving resistance training in people with rheumatoid arthritis: A foundational behaviour change science approach

Resistance training has been shown to improve myriad health indicators, including quality of life, in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, resistance training participation rates among people with RA are remarkably low (1-14%), even in those with well-controlled disease. Anecdotally, unique barriers exist that prevent those with RA from participating in resistance training, including fear, health care provider knowledge, and functional limitation.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Therapeutic efficacy of a novel enteral nutrition strategy in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by chronic, relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

The gold standard induction therapy for treating active pediatric CD is “exclusive enteral nutrition” (EEN), which is a nutritionally complete liquid diet provided by tube feeding that excludes normal food intake. This nutritional strategy is superior to standard induction therapies; however, treatment must be maintained for 6-12 weeks to induce remission, and relapse rates are high after stopping EEN.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Determining best practices in CBT implementation for pediatric OCD

Youth with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) often experience distressing experiences (for example, unwanted thoughts) which they try to prevent or relieve through obsessive strategies such as repeated hand-washing. Without treatment, OCD tends to remain a problem for youth and makes their lives very difficult.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for most youth with OCD. However, CBT is a broad term that can include different strategies and exactly which strategies are the best to use has not been carefully studied.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Alpha-synuclein and its modified forms as biomarkers for dementia with Lewy bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies is the second most common form of dementia following Alzheimer’s disease. This disease can be challenging to identify because symptoms can resemble those of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and/or mental illness. Currently, there is no test that can spot dementia with Lewy bodies and the only way to confirm the presence of this disease is by autopsy.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Personalizing myocarditis diagnostics through novel biomarkers

Myocarditis is defined as inflammation of the heart muscle, most often associated with viral infections. While the true occurrence of myocarditis is difficult to establish, it affects all ages and sexes and is a major cause of sudden death in young people.

Recognizing myocarditis in the clinic is challenging. Current tools for making a diagnosis are invasive (requiring access to heart tissue) and imprecise, leading to poor patient outcomes. Any delay in proper diagnosis may lead to dramatic measures like heart transplantation to ensure patient survival.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Developing effective antimicrobials using novel quorum quenching enzymes

Antibiotics revolutionized our medicine against pathogen infection. However, pathogenic bacteria have recently evolved resistance to multiple antibiotics, becoming a global health care risk. We urgently need to develop novel strategies to combat antibiotic resistance and develop evolution-proof antibiotics.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Rapid selection and sequencing of single circulating tumour cells in prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Comprehensive analysis of genomes has the potential to inform precise prostate cancer treatments. However, a major challenge of prostate cancer genomic analysis is the inaccessibility of metastatic tissue. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) offer great potential as an alternative source of genetic material, which would enable the identification of the relevant mutations and aberrations that define prostate cancer subtypes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP): A new model for mechanistic and therapeutic investigation

Epilepsy is one of the most common brain disorders. The condition is characterized by uncoordinated brain electrical activity and recurrent seizures. Epilepsy patients may die unexpectedly with unknown cause, a phenomenon termed “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy” (SUDEP). SUDEP accounts for about 50% of deaths in individuals suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy in which severe seizures are followed by alterations in respiratory and cardiac functions.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

A microfluidic cell migration assay enabling anticancer drug testing of patient-derived tumour cells

The dispersal of tumour cells within malignant tissue relies on a process called chemotaxis, where tumour cells migrate in response to chemical signals in the local microenvironment. There has been longstanding interest in using chemotaxis assays to deduce how invasive a tumour is, and how it might respond to drug therapy. However, current chemotaxis assays are prone to extreme inter-assay variability, due to the inherent instability of the chemical gradient.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Tying the gut in knots: Characterizing how pathogenic E. coli transform the gut cell landscape

Diarrheal disease affects 1.7 billion people every year, killing around 760,000 children. A leading cause of this disease are bacteria like enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC). EPEC’s ability to cause disease relies entirely on creating an environment in which it can thrive. EPEC achieves this by secreting “effector” proteins directly into human host cells, which rewire the human cell, allowing EPEC to take control of cell immune signalling.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Identification of proteolytic signatures elicited by allergen-derived proteases and their role in allergic sensitization

Allergic diseases are reaching epidemic proportions, now affecting 1 in 3 Canadians. Allergies are inappropriately high immune responses against innocuous allergens. Understanding why the immune system reacts in this way is crucial to identify new drug targets.

Proteases are enzymes that cut other proteins from allergenic sources, for example dust mites and mould. Proteases are potent triggers of allergic responses. However, an understanding of the proteins they cut and how they fit into the global picture of allergic responses is lacking.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

Regulation of the ion channel TRPM3 by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the implications on brain functions and diseases.

Oxidative stress (OS) describes the occurrence of reactive oxygen species (ROS), chemicals that cannot be balanced by the body’s antioxidant defenses. OS can occur in every cell of the body and is linked to an increasing number of diseases.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2018

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