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Three of seven CIHR SPOR Grants awarded to St. Michael’s researchers

Toronto, July 24, 2018

By Madison Thakore

(from left to right) David Clements, director general of Strategic Partnerships and International Relations at CIHR, Dr. Subodh Verma, Dr. David Mazer, diabetes patient Ross Marin, MP Sonia Sidhu, Dr. Art Slutsky and Dr. Ori Rotstein.
(from left to right) David Clements, director general of Strategic Partnerships and International Relations at CIHR, Dr. Subodh Verma, Dr. David Mazer, diabetes patient Ross Marin, MP Sonia Sidhu, Dr. Art Slutsky and Dr. Ori Rotstein.

Three teams at St. Michael’s Hospital have received a total of over $3.5 million in funding for patient care research as recipients of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Innovative Clinical Trial Multi-Year Operating Grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Dr. Jonathon Maguire, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Dr. John Marshall, co-director of the Critical Illness and Injury Research Centre and Dr. Subodh Verma, scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science will lead three of the seven teams awarded CIHR SPOR grants to pursue their respective research. Each of these projects will be supported by the Applied Health Research Centre (AHRC).

The SPOR Innovative Clinical Trial Multi-Year Operating Grants are provided to support patient-oriented research through innovative trial methods, with goals of furthering Canadian research and improving patient care.

On July 24, 2018, Sonia Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Brampton South, visited the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, to announce the recipients of the SPOR Clinical Trial grants. MP Sidhu was joined at the event by David Clements, director general of Strategic Partnerships and International Relations at CIHR, grant recipients from St. Michael’s Hospital, Women’s College Hospital and the Centre for Mental Health and Addictions (CAMH) and research leaders at St. Michael’s. Our three awarded research teams, whose projects are outlined below, highlighted their work to MP Sidhu and the CIHR.

The Cow's Milk Fat Obesity Prevention Trial (CoMFORT) – Led by Dr. Jonathon Maguire

Dr. Jonathon Maguire
Dr. Jonathon Maguire

One out of every three Canadian children is considered obese or overweight, leading to a higher risk of future cardiovascular disease and stroke. What if this was related to the milk we are drinking?

Dr. Maguire, a practicing pediatrician and researcher, alongside his team, are looking to determine the effect of the currently recommended low fat milk compared to whole milk on the growth and development of children. Through TARGetKids!, the largest children’s cohort study in Canada, the research teams will engage parents and children across Toronto and Montreal.

“Most children drink milk every day, yet we still don’t know which type is truly best for them. Our aim is to help parents make the best choices when it comes to their children’s nutrition,” Dr. Maguire said of the team’s research goals.

“We hope our research will inform future guidelines that will equip parents and doctors with the evidence-based knowledge to minimize the risk of childhood obesity while supporting healthy growth and development.”

The Canadian Adaptive Platform Trial in Intensive Care (CAPTIC) Program – Led by Dr. John Marshall

Dr. John Marshall
Dr. John Marshall

More than one quarter of a million Canadians are admitted into an intensive care unit every year.

Following discussions amongst researchers at St. Michael’s in 2011 after the H1N1 influenza outbreak, critical care doctors saw a need to implement clinical trials more rapidly to study outbreaks. Dr. Marshall and an international multidisciplinary team are introducing platform trials to Canada, a new clinical trial model studying multiple interventions. The trial method uses adaptive designs to ensure patients receive those that are most beneficial.

“We’re developing a research model that is engaging patients, accelerating knowledge generation, and merging clinical research with quality improvement,” Dr. Marshall said.

Reducing Diabetic Foot Complications through a Multidisciplinary Chiropodist Based Intervention – Led by Dr. Subodh Verma

Dr. Subodh Verma
Dr. Subodh Verma

Diabetes rates continue to rise, with approximately one of every ten Canadians receiving a diagnosis. Amputation is one of the most feared complication of diabetes, and every four hours, there is one amputation due to diabetic foot ulcers in Ontario.

Dr. Verma and his team are looking at the effect of chiropodists, foot disorder specialists, on amputation-related hospitalization rates in diabetes patients undergoing dialysis.

“The significance of preventing amputations in diabetes requires no justification from a patient, physician, health care or societal perspective,” says Dr. Verma of his research.

“I’m so excited and honoured to work with this multidisciplinary team to develop outcomes directed by the patients’ needs and perceptions.”

Congratulations to the research teams at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Women’s College Hospital (Toronto), the University of Calgary and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto) for also receiving CIHR SPOR Innovative Clinical Trial Multi-Year Operating Grants.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.


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