Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Annual Report 2014-2015

Tender Loving Research


Message from the Chair of the Board and the CEO and Scientific Director

Photo of Ian Mumford, Chair, Board of Directors

Ian Mumford
Chair, Board of Directors, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Photo of Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President, Research

Dr. Duncan Stewart
Executive Vice-President, Research, The Ottawa Hospital

CEO and Scientific Director, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa


BillyBob McPherson is now cured of a deadly liver infection because Dr. Curtis Cooper and the Viral Hepatitis Research Program are committed to giving their patients every opportunity to try new therapies. Claude Corneau survived a devastating stroke because Drs. Cheemun Lum, Dariush Dowlatshahi and the Ottawa Stroke Program relentlessly pursue all avenues to improve patient care. Tina Ceroni completely recovered from a rare and debilitating auto-immune disease after Dr. Harold Atkins and the Stem Cell Transplant team applied their innovative research to a new condition.

These are just a few of the people who benefited from Tender Loving Research (TLR) at The Ottawa Hospital in 2014-15. TLR is the name of our new fundraising campaign, but it is also much more than that: it is an opportunity to tell our research success stories, both from the perspective of patients who have benefited from our work and from the perspective of researchers who are inspired to do more.

You can see this inspiration in our TLR video blogs, when Dr. Christian Vaillancourt talks about saving lives in the emergency department; when Dr. Bernard Thébaud remembers the new mother who inspired him to do more for sick babies like hers; and when Dr. Dylan Burger describes the kidney dialysis patients who motivate him to spend long hours in the lab. This is Tender Loving Research, and it is fuelling world-class and compassionate patient care at The Ottawa Hospital.

Importantly, our research is also fuelling safer and more efficient health care at The Ottawa Hospital and beyond. For example, an economic analysis recently conducted through the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario estimates that the Ottawa COPD Risk Scale, developed by Dr. Ian Stiell, could save Ontario $115 million over three years, in addition to improving patient care. Our researchers are world-leaders in developing and implementing these kinds of clinical decision rules, as evidenced by the fact that three of the top five rules for enhancing efficiency in U.S. emergency departments were developed at The Ottawa Hospital. Other examples of our efficiency- and safety-promoting research include Dr. Marc Rodger’s clinical trial showing that blood thinners don’t prevent pregnancy complications, and a clinical trial led by Drs. Dean Fergusson and Alan Tinmouth that prevented a costly and unnecessary reorganization of the blood supply system.

We are also world-leaders in basic molecular research that is transforming our understanding of health and disease and fuelling the development of next-generation biological therapies. For example, Drs. Marjorie Brand and David Allan recently unravelled how a gene called TAL1 controls vascular stem cells, a discovery which could open up new approaches to enhance stem cell therapy for diseases such as heart attack and stroke. And Dr. John Bell’s basic laboratory research on cancer has led to the development of novel cancer-fighting viruses that are currently being tested in patients at The Ottawa Hospital, as well as a $60M Canadian network to develop biotherapeutics for cancer.  We’re also leading world-first or Canadian-first clinical trials of stem cell therapies for heart attack, septic shock and multiple sclerosis.

Our success is also evident in our ability to attract external, peer-reviewed research funds. Indeed, The Ottawa Hospital currently ranks as the third hospital in the country for funding from the highly-competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research, up from eighth in 2001, and our researchers consistently have grant success rates that are well above the national average. This success is due to the hard work and dedication of our researchers, but it has also been supported by the development of new procedures to help with the grant-writing process. We’ve also enhanced our support for clinical trials, research commercialization and knowledge translation, all with a balanced budget and the lowest administrative costs of all hospital-based research institutes in Ontario. The research environment in Canada may be more challenging than ever before, but we are rising to the challenge and exceeding expectations.

In the coming year, we look forward to making more discoveries and developing additional approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. We will also continue to work closely with The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa to ensure that we are closely aligned in support of research, patient care and learning.  And finally, we look forward to continuing to share our stories of Tender Loving Research. Your support, through The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, is crucial for our continued success.