Restoring lung and heart function
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The scientists at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute have completed a first: they have used a patient's own cells (autologous cell gene therapy) in a trial for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, a fatal disease, which affects the lungs' functioning. Gene therapy can restore the function of a crucial enzyme found in diseased lungs. A similar trial for the treatment of a specific type of heart disease (ischematic) has also been initiated.
Expanding donor candidate base for transplantation
Centre of Excellence for Cellular Therapy
Dr Denis Claude Roy and the Centre of Excellence for Cellular Therapy are pivotal in the development of Kiadis Pharma's ATIR™. This is a novel immunotherapeutic strategy for 40% of patients who suffer from blood cancer and who do not have a standard of care stem cell donor available. ATIR™ enables hematopoietic stem cell transplantations using partially mismatched family members as donors to address this unmet medical need.
Improving the quality of life for type 1 diabetes patients
University of Alberta
University of Alberta researchers made an international breakthrough with the transplantation of islets from cadaveric donors to treat type 1 diabetics. The islets are infused into the patient's portal vein. Transplanted islets can improve blood glucose control and reduce the amount of insulin needed. Insulin independence is not usually sustainable in the long term, but the transplanted islets still function enough to provide protection from severe hypoglycemic episodes and fainting. This discovery, the Edmonton Protocol, has paved the way to the construction and establishment of the ACTM to build on these findings and implement usage of alternative sources of islet cells.
Closing the gap to cure Fabry disease
Philip S. Orsino Facility for Cell Therapy (University Health Network)
Supported by the Philip S. Orsino Facility for Cell Therapy (University Health Network) in Toronto and led by Dr. Armand Keating in collaboration with physicians across Canada, the world's first gene therapy clinical trial for Fabry disease will soon launch. This rare inherited enzyme deficiency can shorten lifespan by as much as 40 years.
Researchers will remove a quantity of stem cells from a Fabry patient's blood. Then a working copy of a new gene will be inserted into the stem cells using a specially engineered virus. During the final phase of the trial, researchers hope to transplant these stem cells back into the donor patient and the new, working copy of the gene will create the missing enzyme.
Treating vision problems
Le Centre multidisciplinaire de développement du génie tissulaire (CMDGT) et le Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec
The Centre Multidisciplinaire de Développement du Génie Tissulaire (CMDGT) and the CHU de Québec Research Centre recently announced they have successfully grafted cultured, living corneal substitutes created in laboratory through tissue engineering. CMDGT is the first medical facility in Canada to transplant patients' own living tissues (autologous) to replace a corneal epithelium (the tissues covering the front of the cornea).