Researchers collaborate to treat vision loss linked to Usher thanks to a 1.74 million USD grant from the National Institutes of Health

24-August-12

Source: Naima Abbadi, PhD, Program Manager, Child Health and Human Development Program, MUHC Research Institute, October 2019

Developing an effective treatment using antisense therapy for vision loss in Usher – a rare genetic disease characterized by concurrent hearing and vision loss – is the long-term goal of a research project led by Jennifer J. Lentz, Associate Professor at LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence and Departments of Otorhinolaryngology, Genetics and Ophthalmology in collaboration with Dr. Robert K. Koenekoop, Senior Scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and Chief of Pediatric Ophthalmology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of MUHC. This project was awarded a $1.74 million USD five-year grant by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH.)

Usher syndrome, which affects all aspects of life, including health, education, social activities and employment, is associated with mutations in 16 different genes creating four distinct clinical types. Lentz’s research targets the human 216A mutation in the USH1C gene that causes Type 1C Usher Syndrome in the Acadian population.

“The first aim of this study is to identify and characterize an USH1C-ASO drug therapy molecule that most effectively targets the 216A mutation and treats vision loss,” says Lentz.

The second aim is to determine which visual tests are the most likely to document improvement in vision and safety, i.e., the most robust clinical endpoints and identify potential trial participants to guide a clinical trial. Dr. Koenekoop, who is also Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Human Genetics and Ophthalmology at McGill University, will contribute to the research clinical aspect along with Lentz and Dr. Maria Reinoso, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at LSU Health New Orleans. To date, 62 USH1C patients have been identified in the three participating clinical centers.

“I am extremely excited to continue working with the LSU group headed by Dr. Lentz,” says Dr. Koenekoop. “We, in Montreal, have been following USH1C patients for over 20 years, and this next step in our collaboration and novel study provides solid hope for them”.

The clinical research is additionally supported by a $40,000 donation to Lentz’s and Reinoso’s work from Ush One See Foundation, and a $453,920 grant from Fighting Blindness Canada to Koenekoop’s research.

For more information, read LSU Health New Orleans Press Releas


Congratulations Dr. Nada Jabado on receiving the 2019 Pediatric Academic Leadership─Clinician Investigator Award from the Pediatric Chairs of Canada

Nada Jabado receives reward for outstanding leadership from the Pediatric Chairs of Canada

Revolutionary research findings honoured, as well as passion and compassion in research and patient care

Source: PCC and RI-MUHC, August 2019

Dr. Nada Jabado, a senior scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, received the 2019 Pediatric Academic Leadership─Clinician Investigator Award from the Pediatric Chairs of Canada (PCC) in June. The award recognizes outstanding leadership in developing environments that foster opportunity for child and youth health research.

The PCC noted that Dr. Jabado’s success and excellence as a scientist are acknowledged and celebrated by her peer community. She has been responsible for revolutionary research findings influencing the World Health Organization to revise its classification of central nervous system tumours. Additionally, her research into the histone binding gene with its targeted and effective interventions is expected to lead to improved outcomes.

Dr. Jabado is an exceptional national and international leader in science, primarily in the field of pediatric neuro-oncology, but also in cancer in general. She is a highly productive researcher whose career achievement has successfully garnered multimillion-dollar research funding.

“I am honoured to receive this prestigious award and humbled to be in such distinguished company as other former recipients,” says Dr. Jabado. “The true measure of a clinician scientist specializing in cancer is how efficiently we can bring discoveries from bench to bedside. Given the diverse nature of brain tumours in children, we have only been able to make small strides in field of pediatric neuro-oncology. However, I am confident that our findings in the field will continue to shed light on the genetic and epigenetic roots of this disease and pave the way to improve the health outcomes of all children diagnosed with brain tumours.”

Read more here


Gustavo Turecki honoured by UBC Faculty of Medicine

Chair of the Department of Psychiatry will be awarded the Margolese National Brain Disorders Prize

By McGill Reporter Staff,  July 17, 2019

The Margolese National Heart Disorders Prize will be awarded to Ruth McPherson of the University of Ottawa, for her international impact on the genetic basis of coronary artery disease. John Dick of the University of Toronto will be awarded the Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Prize in Cancer Research for his pioneering discovery of the origins of leukemia and causes for relapse.

Each prize is valued at $50,000, making them among the most prestigious honours bestowed by a Canadian university. The recipients were chosen by a committee of international experts chaired by Robert McMaster, Executive Associate Dean, Research, and Deborah Money, Executive Vice Dean.

Turecki, the Canada Research Chair in Major Depressive Disorder and Suicide; and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, has devoted his career to improving our understanding of major depression and suicide. The UBC announcement said his “groundbreaking work in depression and suicide has been instrumental in the development of suicide research, intervention and prevention initiatives in Canada and internationally.”

read more here


Keerthana Harwalker – 2019 CSMB Poster Award

Keerthana Harwalker (Dr. Yojiro Yamanaka lab) was one of the winners of a poster award at the  2019 Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences annual conference at Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC.

Congratulations Keerthana!

 


 

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