The Montreal Heart Institute receives $20M thanks to two outstanding research projects

2013, April 16, 2013

Embargoed for release until April 16, 2013, 15:15

2012 Genome Canada-CIHR Competition in Personalized Health

The Montreal Heart Institute receives $20M thanks to two outstanding research projects

Montréal, April 16, 2013 – The Research Centre of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) achieved incredible results in the prestigious 2012 Genomics and Personalized Health national competition funded by Genome Canada and the CIHR. Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif and Dr. John D. Rioux from the MHI each received $10 million for research into personalized medicine. Overall, 17 projects in Canada received funding, and the MHI received 2 awards out of the 8 projects selected in Quebec.

“These two grants will consolidate the MHI's expertise in personalized medicine and will have a direct impact on patients. I would like to congratulate Dr. Tardif and Dr. Rioux as well as their teams for this tremendous accomplishment,” stated Dr. Denis Roy, Executive Director of the MHI.

Cardiovascular disease

In Canada, 1.3 million people suffer from cardiovascular disease, and in 2010, 35% of deaths were due to these pathologies. The project directed by Dr. Tardif, called “Personalized medicine strategies for the molecular diagnosis and targeted treatment of cardiovascular diseases,” will therefore have an immediate and lasting economic and clinical impact in Canada. Thanks to a series of pharmacogenomic tests developed through this project, teams at the MHI will be able to more efficiently manage patients with cardiovascular diseases, along with all health care professionals across the country.

“Personalized medicine is the future of cardiovascular health. This is why the support of partners such as Genome Canada is so valuable. Overall, the research sector and the health care system in Canada will reap the important benefits,” explained Dr. Tardif.

Inflammatory disease

With approximately one in every 150 Canadians affected with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the two forms of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Canada is recognized to have one of the highest rates in the world of these chronic diseases. In the project led by Dr. John Rioux entitled “Translating genetic discoveries into a personalized approach to treating the inflammatory bowel diseases”, Dr. Rioux and his colleagues from the iGenoMed Consortium will develop unique predictive tools to help gastroenterologists identify the optimal match between patient and therapy.

“We are taking advantage of the recent discoveries that make IBD one of the best characterized diseases in terms of genetic causes” said Dr. Rioux, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal and who holds the Canada Research Chair in Genetics and Genomic Medicine. Dr. Rioux continued to say that “this project will not only enable a systematic examination of the biological underpinnings of these diseases, but will also develop a test to select the most appropriate therapy based on the biology of each patient”.

“Knowing that such a large effort by an internationally-renowned group of scientists is being focused on better medical care is a great source of hope for patients with IBD like myself”, said Mrs. Mélanie Énault, someone who has not only lived with IBD for over 20 years but who is a mother and a test pilot for Bombardier.

“I am very proud that the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC ) has been able to partner with Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, Genome BC and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to support this innovative project to better the lives of the many Canadians living with IBD”, concluded Dr. Kevin Glasgow, CEO of the CCFC.

Personalized medicine at the MHI

The funding awarded by Genome Canada reinforces the MHI's leadership position in personalized medicine. With its Research Centre that is highly focused on translational medicine; its platforms for the discovery and development of biomarkers; its Coordinating Centre; its vast worldwide network of collaborators in clinical trials; the Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre; the Centre for Excellence in Personalized Medicine (Cepmed); and its leadership in the Canadian Atherosclerosis Imaging Network (CAIN) and the Réseau d'essais cliniques sur l'imagerie médicale (RECIM), the MHI is indeed paving the way for the future of health care by incorporating personalized medicine into all of its activities.

About the Montreal Heart Institute:

About the iGenoMed Consortium:

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Marie-Josée Nantel
Communications Officer
Montreal Heart Institute
Phone: 514-376-3330, extension 2641
Cell: 514-772-0478

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