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.
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.
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.
By diagnosing oral premalignant lesions that might progress to cancer and making better clinical decisions, clinicians can significantly lower the mortality rate, increase quality of life with earlier and less traumatic surgery and reduce healthcare costs.
Toronto-based ProteoCyte Diagnostics Inc. developed a new diagnostic testing system, StraticyteTM, which can accurately and objectively identify premalignant oral lesions that have a high risk of becoming cancerous, allowing patients to undergo early treatment to ensure survival and improved quality of life.
Once prostate cancer is diagnosed, a series of biopsies has to be done to determine how serious the case is. These can be invasive and painful for the patient and may not give an accurate prognosis.
In partnership with Mitacs-Accelerate intern Julius Adebayo Awe, CancerCare Manitoba has developed an innovative way to determine the progression of prostate cancer in intermediate risk prostate cancer patients through a simple blood test. This work is done in collaboration with the Manitoba Prostate Centre and Drs. Darrel Drachenberg and Jeff Saranchuk.
Rogers Raising the Grade uses the appeal of technology and dedicated space provided in Tech Centres designed exclusively for participating clubs, quality online resources, alongside 1:1 mentoring to re-engage youth in learning and the commitment to finish high school.
Outside of the laboratory, Vinícius has been building his professional portfolio by attending workshops on networking, time management and communication, a critical component of the Mitacs Elevate program. The skills and confidence he’s acquired have been instrumental in helping him grow as a researcher. “The professional development workshops have provided me with the tools, guidance and knowledge I was lacking as a career student. In particular, they’ve helped me identify which skills I need to improve and strengthen.