Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a fatal hereditary neurodegenerative disease caused by expansion of the CAG repeat tract at the 5’ of the huntingtin (htt) gene resulting in polyglutamine expansion of the HTT protein (polyQ-HTT) of aberrant function. HD symptoms include loss of motor coordination, cognitive and speech impairment, and psychiatric disorders. HD affects approximately 1 in 7000 people in Canada, and there are no cures or disease-modifying therapies to date.
A new therapy was developed in order to combat cancers by stimulating our immune system to fight agents the cancer cells in the body. The activated immune system is more efficient to fight the cancer cells than the common drugs, but stimulating the immune system is very expensive and labour-intensive with the currently developed protocols. This project will develop a cost-effective way to stimulate immune system to fight cancers. We will use advanced biomaterials and immune stimulatory genes in order to achieve this.
Making sure patients have well controlled post-operative pain is imperative for patient well-being, optimal recovery, and to prevent chronic pain from developing. Opioid medications are often used to treat post-surgical pain, but some people respond in unpredictable ways and this may be related to their genetics. Pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing is a way of finding out how people’s genes affect the way they respond to medications.
Older adults are the largest growing segment of the Canadian population. Almost 40% of men and 59% of women aged 65 to 79 years experience sleep disturbances. Non-pharmacological interventions, such as educational programs and exercise, can improve quality of life of older individuals by enhancing sleep quality. Although strong evidence suggests that virtual reality (VR) programs are effective for improving mood, memory, and cognitive performance, little is known about the effect of VR exercises on sleep quality.
Drugs that block muscarinic receptors are able to enhance nerve repair in various diseases of the peripheral nervous system. In collaboration with WinSanTor Inc based in San Diego, USA, the laboratory of Dr. Paul Fernyhough at University of Manitoba now plans to develop novel peptide antagonists that also block the muscarinic receptor. These peptides will provide new intellectual property and permit testing of efficacy to prevent disease in animal models of neuropathy.
Opioid-related harms such as abuse, misuse, addiction, diversion and overdose have been rising exponentially, a phenomenon referred to as the opioid epidemic. The current research will examine federal and provincial risk minimization measures (RMMs) regarding the opioid epidemic starting in 2016. We will develop a landscape of federal and provincial opioid RMMs, describe trends over time in the number and types of RMMs, assess the association between RMMs and public awareness and the association between RMMs and opioid-related harms.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, mainly induced by increased pressure in the eye. Marijuana has been shown to reduce such pressure, thus benefit glaucoma patients. In the previous project, we screened several individual components from marijuana extracts and tested their ability on keeping cells alive. The current project puts an emphasis on neuroprotection and therapeutic aspects of glaucoma. We propose to target and analyse the effect of our selected compound for major downstream pathways that are significantly modulated in to Glaucoma pathology.
Despite the power of gene therapy, its successful application to medicine has been diminished due to: (i) high toxicities and potentially fatal adverse effects; (ii) poor transgene expression in target cells; and (iii) extensive vector degradation. While viral vectors greatly improve efficiency, they sometimes lead to cancers due to chromosomal integration and may suffer from a lack of desired tissue selectivity. In contrast, nonviral systems have proven safer, but less efficient.
Interstitial cystitis is an inflammatory disease of the urinary bladder and is recognized as a serious medical condition associated with a profoundly negative impact on patients? quality of life. Currently, there are no widely acknowledged causes of this disorder and no effective treatments available. Panag is a Halifax based drug company which focuses on development of novel therapeutic treatments which can be used to alleviate both pain and inflammation associated with IC. The goal of our research is to provide IC patients with symptom and pain relief, as well as to improve outcome.
Cannabis products are being used for a variety of conditions. In Canada, there are no cannabis products approved for use in children. Without evidence from clinical trials doctors are hesitant to recommend cannabis products for children. In order for doctors to feel confident in advising parents on medical cannabis they need better information on if these products work, how to dose them and long-term safety. Our national collaboration between parents, doctors, researchers, industry and policy makers will study the use of medical cannabis in children.