Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is an important disease characterized by recurrent blockages of the upper airway during sleep leading to breathing cessations (up to 100 times per hour); OSA is common and is widely under-diagnosed. OSA might cause cancer or lead to cancer progression, potentially mediated through low oxygen levels; however, evidence for this association is limited. This research study will use rigorous methods to determine if there is a potential link between OSA and cancer; specifically, we will link our large database of approximately 1800 patients with suspected OSA.
Radiodermatitis is a group of skin reactions that occur as a result of radiation therapy. It is a significant health challenge as approximately 70% of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy and approximately 95% of them experience radiodermatitis. Patients with radiodermatitis experience redness, itchiness, pain, scaling, and weeping or crusted wounds. Importantly, radiodermatitis can impede cancer treatments. Current treatments for radiodermatitis have shown limited efficacy; thus, improving our understanding of radiodermatitis and developing novel therapies are urgent needs.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by changes in the wall of the blood vessels of the legs that make them narrow and stiff. The main causes of PAD are atherosclerosis and smoking. Unlike many other diseases, there is no blood test that is capable of detecting PAD. Instead, persons have to be referred by their doctor and they must go to a specialized clinic where an expensive hour-long ankle-brachial (ABI) test is performed.
Koven wants to develop a simple, inexpensive and reliable blood test that can detect PAD.
When blood-vessels in the brain are damaged, substances can leak from the blood into the brain. This leakage can affect cognition and mental health, however there are currently no clinically-available tests for detecting such leakage.
In this project we are continuing the development of a method for diagnosing subtle leakages in the brain’s blood vessels using MRI. We have recently demonstrated that this technology may help explain why patients diagnosed with the same disease often have very different severities of outcome.
Differences in the composition of bacteria within the gut have been found in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and healthy people. In addition to this, bacterial functional differences may also contribute to inflammation in IBD, but it is difficult to determine whether these changes are cause or the consequence of disease. Proteases, which are enzymes that break down proteins, are produced by bacteria in the gut.
Mastitis is the most frequent and costly disease of dairy cows, with costs estimated at $670M/year in Canada. Mastitis is also the main reason for antimicrobial use in dairy herds, raising great concerns regarding emergence of antimicrobial resistance in critical pathogens capable of infecting humans.
The normal rhythmic beating of the heart is controlled by a set of electrical signals. When these signals are scrambled and the heart is no longer beating regularly, it produces a medical condition known as cardiac arrhythmia. There are several types of cardiac arrhythmias, the most common one being atrial fibrillation (AF) that affects more than 350,000 Canadians, which has far reaching impacts on the healthcare system and broader economy in the order of $3.6 billion/year.
Each year approximately two out of every 1,000 Canadians experiences a heart attack. These patients are at increased risk for heart failure, a serious condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Heart inflammation that lasts too long following a heart attack may increase the risk of heart failure. The development of an imaging method to monitor this inflammation will help scientists develop and apply therapies. Dr.
The aim of the project is to design and test different chemical derivatives of betulinic acid as a treatment for cancer. It is well known that betulinic acid is able to specifically kill cancer cells, and so we have developed several derivatives to improve biochemical properties such as solubility or biodistribution but maintaining the toxicity for cancer cells. We will test these different chemical structures on different cell lines (normal and cancerous) and try to elucidate the mechanism of action of those compounds.