Innovation and Translational Research Award winners announced

Jun 28, 2018 | News

Drs. David Barbic, Honglin Luo and William Jia have received 2018 PHCRI and VCHRI joint Innovation and Translational Research Awards. Drs. David Barbic, Honglin Luo and William Jia have received 2018 PHCRI and VCHRI joint Innovation and Translational Research Awards.

Can a virus destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells? Can ketamine curb aggressive behaviour in the Emergency Department?

These are questions our researchers are seeking to answer and the Providence Health Care Research Institute, in partnership with the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, is proud to support their pursuits.

PHCRI has partnered with VCHRI to fund two projects in the 2018 Innovation and Translational Research Award competition. These annual awards support innovative research that will have an impact on patient care, provide savings for the health system, and create medical device and/or commercial opportunities from pre-existing research outcomes.

VCHRI shared news of the winners in this June 24 announcement and we are pleased to publish excerpts from that announcement below:

How can we make Emergency Departments safer for patients and staff?

St. Paul’s Hospital emergency physician Dr. David Barbic received an Innovation and Translational Research Award for his study “Rapid agitation control with ketamine in the emergency department (RACKED): a randomized controlled trial.” His award is funded by PHCRI, through the fundraising efforts of St. Paul’s Foundation, and VCHRI.

When patients arrive at the emergency department agitated, aggressive and with potentially violent behaviour, it is paramount to find a way to address the situation quickly for the safety of patients and ED staff. Patients may be suffering from mental health crises, substance misuse, severe infections or trauma. Caring for them and other patients is a primary concern for ED staff. This randomized control trial investigates the use of intramuscular ketamine as compared to current standard care medications for the rapid and safe control of patients. 

“We see patients presenting to the ED agitated, aggressive and with potentially violent behaviour every day,” says Dr. Barbic. “Intramuscular ketamine may be a faster and safer way to provide sedation and behaviour control to keep these patients and ED staff safe.”

Read more about the RACKED study.

Is a virus the key to improving lung cancer treatments?

Centre for Heart Lung Innovation Principal Investigator Dr. Honglin Luo and Co-PI Dr. William Jia of the BC Cancer Research Centre received funding for their study “Engineering Coxsackievirus B3 for KRAS-driven lung cancer therapy.” Their award was funded by PHCRI, through the fundraising efforts of St. Paul’s Foundation, as well as VCHRI and the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation.

Current therapies have a low success rate at stopping the spread of the most common type of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, advances in virotherapy show promise as a new potential treatment. The goal of this research is to develop the first safe and effective treatment for NSCLC using a virus that will destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells. This treatment could substantially improve health outcomes for patients by decreasing mortality and morbidity associated with this disease. 

“One huge advantage of virotherapy is that the virus can be genetically manipulated to increase its potency against specific cancer types, without harming healthy cells,” says Dr. Luo. “Our hope is that this new virotherapy can be translated into clinical therapy in the near future to provide a safe and effective treatment for lung cancer.”

“My lab has been working on utilizing viruses to target tumors, which has been a new frontier in cancer treatment,” says Dr. Jia. “Coxsackievirus has been used to treat cancer in clinical trials. But this research proposed a novel concept that may enable the virus to be more effective in killing cancer.”

Click here to read about all eight recipients of the 2018 Innovation and Translational Research Award. Congratulations to all the winners!

Research & Learning

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