Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute Innovative Team Research Grants Brenda Goodkey of Devon first battled breast cancer, then heart disease; a one-two punch that is becoming increasingly common, according to cardiologist Dr. Ian Paterson. “The vast majority of patients with breast cancer are surviving; they’re beating the cancer. But what doctors are now realizing is that some of the women are showing signs of heart damage.” Paterson and his interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, Cross Cancer Institute and the University of Alberta are looking for ways to prevent heart damage due to breast cancer treatments before it begins. The project was funded by the University Hospital Foundation, in partnership with a grant from the Allard Foundation. As critical as it is, such ground-breaking research could not take place without donor support, which is why the University Hospital Foundation launched the Innovative Team Research Grant Competition. This year, the Foundation awarded a total of $1.2 million to four research teams, including Dr. Paterson’s quest to find ways of protecting the heart health of breast cancer patients. The three other projects are: ➤
Over the next two years, 300 patients at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute will participate in a research trial that will determine the best way to take a snapshot of a beating heart. “Down the road, this will allow us to care for more heart patients because it will minimize the need to image a heart multiple times,” explains principal investigator, cardiologist Dr. Harold Becher.
consist of interviews with patients and healthcare professionals that will provide valuable information on what teen patients know about the heart in general and their own heart history; what has worked and not worked for patients aged 18 – 25 who have already made the transition from child to adult care; and the barriers faced by professionals working with adolescents. ➤
A multidisciplinary research team − comprised of cardiologists, scientists, clinicians, medical imaging experts and a biomedical engineer − will spend the next two years studying right ventricular diseases in animals and humans. “As we start to appreciate the disease process and how it can potentially be used to predict patient survival, we’re gaining a better appreciation for right ventricular disease and how to protect against it,” says cardiothoracic surgeon and research team member Dr. Jayan Nagendran. “This is what it comes down to,” adds cardiologist and team member, Dr. Evangelos Michelakis. “When the right ventricle fails, it fails quickly. A thickened left ventricle can function for decades; a thickened right ventricle for just a few years.”
Through a partnership with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, proposals for the Innovative Team Research Grant Competition are peer reviewed by leading scientists from across Canada, and around the world, to select the projects that will have the greatest direct impact on patients. “We’re seeking to discover the heart-imaging technique that offers the best care and long-term health for our patients.” Cardiologist, Dr. Harold Becher
Headed by Dr. Andrew Mackie, research on how to best transition young adults with congenital heart problems to adult care is underway. “To date, no research has been done on how to transition teens with heart problems from child-centred to adultoriented health care,” says Dr. Mackie. “Our team will address this gap.” The project will
Thanks to donor support, Dr. Jayan Nagendran (left) and Dr. Evangelos Michelakis will spend the next two years studying ways to protect heart patients from right ventricular disease − a focus under-represented in current research.
UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL FOUNDATION ANNUAL REPORT 2011 / 2012