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angle-left Major funding awarded to RI-MUHC scientists for innovative genomics geared to Quebec patients

Génome Québec funds two personalized therapy projects at the RI-MUHC aimed at fast-tracking targeted genetic treatments at diagnosis

Apr 25, 2018

Montreal – Pioneering work to advance genomics and precision health treatments at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has been rewarded by Génome Québec. Dr. Nada Jabado and Dr. Ruth Sapir-Hichhadze, the RI-MUHC scientists who received the reward, were among the winners of a nation-wide competition emphasizing precision treatments in genomics. 

Brain cancer: Improving the chances of survival and the quality of life for children

Dr. Jabado’s work investigating brain cancer in children received $13 million in funding after emerging as one of the four winning projects in Quebec in Genome Canada’s 2017 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition Genomics and Precision Health. A total of $58 million was distributed to projects across the province.

“These major investments see Quebec established as a centre of innovation that will provide a major benefit to Quebec patients, who will have access to the best health care thanks to this technology. Congratulations to the winning teams who are ensuring genomics will be more accessible to citizens and the larger population than ever before,” says Génome Québec President and CEO Daniel Coderre.

Dr. Jabado’s team from the Child Health and Human Development Program at the RI-MUHC were rewarded for their personalized therapy approach to childhood brain cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among children under age 20. The team – led by Dr. Jabado alongside colleagues Dr. Jacek Majewski (McGill University/RI-MUHC) and Dr. Michael Taylor (SickKids) – has fast-tracked treatments targeting specific genetic alterations at diagnosis.

Preventing rejection and loss of kidney transplants

Dr. Ruth Sapir-Pichhadze, meanwhile, is a principal co-scientist on a $9.7 million project led by the University of British Columbia using genomic technologies to reduce the risk of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). AMR causes premature loss of the transplant kidney in as many as 30 per cent of transplant recipients, prompting a return to dialysis and – often – early death. Dr. Sapir-Pichhadze’s team at the RI-MUHC’s Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation focus their efforts on improving the matching of donors and recipients, exploring a more personalized drug treatment, and establishing better engagement with patients and stakeholders. The study hopes to reduce healthcare burden and costs, improve survival rates and quality of life, and improve care for major chronic disease in Canada.

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