Development of a commercial protocol to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into skeletal muscle progenitor cells (hPSC-SMPCs) with transplantation potential

Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of methods to differentiate human PSCs (hPSCs) into skeletal muscle cells. This has allowed, for the first time, the development of cellular models to study muscle diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the possibility to utilize these cells for cell therapy applications. However, the reliability, efficiency and prober characterization of cells produced from these differentiation protocols remains a roadblock for their routine utilization by the research community.

Investigating the efficacy of GelDerm* in detection of wound infection in a rat model

Burn injuries and wounds caused by burns are big health problems and in Canada alone cost nearly $290 million. Additionally, these wounds usually persist and become infected and subsequently drastically compromise patients’ health, result in significantly longer hospitalization, delayed wound healing, higher costs and higher risk of death. Therefore, prevention and management of wound infections have priority in treatment of burn patients. In order to early diagnose microbial infections in wounds and accelerate wound healing to such injuries, 4M Biotech under leadership of Dr.

Masters Athlete Screening Study (MASS) - Part 2 (5-year evaluation)

Masters athletes (>35 years) are a rapidly growing population that participate in a variety of sports. While exercise has tremendous health benefits, there is a small absolute risk of a heart attack and sudden death during exercise. Prevention strategies, such as heart screening aim to identify heart disease that may serve as a trigger for fatal adverse events. This will be the first prospective longitudinal study in Canada examining the effectiveness of heart screening in Masters athletes.

The impact of residential displacement on health among people who use drugs living with HIV in Vancouver, Canada

Residential displacement is common among people who use drugs (PWUD). However, we know little about the impact residential displacement has on their social and health outcomes. PWUD living with HIV may experience particularly detrimental consequences due to their structural vulnerability and complex realities of their everyday lives. Focusing on PWUD living with HIV, this study will explore the health consequences of displacement from housing in the West End and Downtown Eastside neighborhoods of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Fibre in IBD: Feeding Our Microbes vs. Fuelling Inflammation

While studies show that dietary fibres are beneficial in many diseases, they are not digested or absorbed directly by the host, but rather fermented by gut microbes. Fermentation byproducts (mostly short-chain fatty-acids; SCFAs) are responsible for health benefits. Only select inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) patients benefit from fibres; many patients report sensitivity to high fibre foods, especially during disease flares. Dietary fibres resemble structures found on the surface of pathogens that induce host cell inflammation.

Optimizing the placement of Med-El’s BoneBridge implant: image-guided positioning and biomechanical efficiency - Year two

Med-El’s BoneBridge implant provides the sensation of sound to hearing-impaired persons. The device’s transducer is surgically implanted in the skull. Key surgical problems are to find a location on the individual patient’s skull that is thick enough to house the transducer and to place and configure the transducer to maximize sound energy transfer to the cochlea, the organ of hearing. This project will (1) develop software for patient-specific, image-based BoneBridge placement planning and (2) investigate how BoneBridge placement and configuration affect energy transfer.

Opioid Use in Pediatric-Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Year two

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have an inflamed digestive tract and experience diarrhea, fatigue, and abdominal pain. Youth with IBD are six times more likely to take opioids than youth without IBD. We are currently in the midst of an opioid crisis. In 2016, there were almost 3000 deaths related to opioid use in Canada. This increased to nearly 4000 deaths in 2017. Since 2001, opioid-related deaths have increased by 345% in the United States. IBD patients taking opioids have a poorer quality of life, regardless of how severe their IBD is.

Molecular signatures and predictive biomarkers for phenotyping allergic rhinitis responses

Allergic rhinitis (AR) is in inflammatory disease characterized by nasal symptoms. It affects 20-25% of Canadians and is recognized as the most common allergic disorder worldwide. Patients can experience one of several types of responses to allergen onset hence a key hurdle to developing effective treatment plans is accurate diagnosis. The allergic responses are characterized by an early response, with a subsequent late response in a subgroup of patients. Based on severity of nasal symptoms, patients can be stratified as early responders, protracted early responders or dual responders.

Identification of blood-based biomarkers predictive of pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis

Individuals with cystic fibrosis experience recurrent episodes of worsen in respiratory symptoms, termed pulmonary exacerbations (PEx). Early identification of individuals who are at elevated risk of PEx can improve their clinical outcomes and rescue their lung function. In this project, we will collaborate with the Prevention of Organ Failure Centre of Excellence (PROOF) to develop a simple blood test to predict the PEx in CF individuals. We will also evaluate the genetic influence on blood biomarker candidates during the project and refine the blood test based on these genetic variants.

A Clinical Proteomic Test for Patient Care

There are 2.6 million Canadians with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a disease characterized by progressive loss of lung function that leads to shortness of breath, poor quality of life, reduced productivity, emergency visits, hospitalizations and mortality. The World Health Organization estimates that COPD will be the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, accounting for more than 7 million deaths/year and 11,000 deaths/year in Canada.

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