During the summer of 2014, researchers at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy were looking into whether a group of drugs called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — normally used as anti-depressants — could be used to treat Alzheimer's.
Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Saskatchewan, and Research Manitoba.
When Actavis Specialty Pharmaceuticals Co. developed a new drug to treat uterine fibroids — benign tumors in a woman’s uterus — it partnered with Accelerate intern Bernice Tsoi to help create an economic model of the product. As a Health Research Methodology PhD student at McMaster University, conducting a thorough analysis of the drug’s costs and benefits was right up Bernice’s alley.
He’s already got a head start on this goal through his work this summer with Professor Vincent Jacquemet at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur—part of the Université de Montréal—through Mitacs Globalink Research Internships.
After doing her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan and returning to her home province of BC for a residency, Shawnda had a growing concern about how testing for mental illness and cognitive impairment was being done.
Currently, people have to go through lengthy tests of their concentration, learning, memory, reasoning, language, and other skills. Through Elevate, Shawnda began a two-year fellowship with Copeman Healthcare Centre, researching how much this process could be streamlined while maintaining its reliability.
As a research scientist in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Jacque-Lynne has devoted herself to studying cilia — tiny antennae found on the surface of cells, used for sensory processes, such as taste, touch, and smell. Understanding how cilia work is important because when they break down, a person can suffer a range of health problems, such as sterility, obesity, and neurological deficits.
Yet, in the midst of her research, Jacque-Lynne knew her career could benefit from other learning outside the lab.
Chelation Partners’ approach to fighting antibiotic-resistant diseases is a novel one: cutting off their supply of iron. Without iron, bacteria have a tough time growing, and they’re more vulnerable to the effects of antibiotics. What’s more, Chelation Partners has discovered this tactic could also be applied to the fight against cancer. Cancer cells seem to be more sensitive to lower iron levels than other cells in the body, so reducing the availability of the metal might restrict the growth of cancer and boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Researchers like Yang Yang, a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellow in the Pharmaceutical Orthopaedic Research lab at the University of Alberta, are tackling the problem head-on by developing new treatments for the disease. In partnership with Osteo-Metabolix Pharmaceuticals Inc., Yang has created a new drug that does a better job of healing broken bones.