From Dream to Reality: Event Looks at "Mark" of the Future for Epidemic Organ Failure

Vancouver, April 23, 2008 — What may have started as a dream for the future of science and medicine is now a very close reality with this Friday’s launch of the new Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Epidemic Organ Failure (PROOF).
PROOF, a collaboration led by the Providence Heart + Lung Institute, VCH Research Institute, and University of British Columbia and other partners across BC, Alberta, and North America, focuses on the development of blood and urine biomarkers to aid in the prevention and effective early detection of major diseases that cause heart, lung and kidney failure.

“We are already seeing the possibilities and opportunities for valuable biomarkers to help patients facing heart, lung and kidney diseases,” says Dr. Bruce McManus, Director of the new Centre and Director at Providence’s Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital and Professor in UBC’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. “From replacing risky and costly biopsies with a simple non-invasive blood test to personalizing care for patients, biomarker-guided prevention, detection and treatment will significantly decrease the costs to society and also improve the standard of care and quality of life for those faced with these diseases.”

At a special public launch this Friday, PROOF is hosting a meeting of leaders from health, academic, private and public sectors to examine how biomarkers could impact our health care system and individuals at risk of organ failure.

“The economic, social and personal consequences of heart, lung and kidney failure in Canada is costing the nation’s health care system more than $35 billion a year,” says McManus. “The impact of heart failure alone outstrips other causes of disability, illness, and death in Canada and throughout the world. Presentations at the event will share the perspectives of patients, the public, health care providers, knowledge producers, policy makers and the private sector.”

“The goal of this event is to bring together all sectors committed to the best of health systems – including the public – to look at the what novel molecular biomarkers can offer in regards to vital organ failure,” says McManus. “Although PROOF is brand new, there are already many advances in the detection of gene, protein, and metabolite biomarkers that may alter the epidemic of heart, lung and kidney disease. PROOF brings together a world-class team of scientists, clinicians, health administrators and policy makers to challenge the epidemic with innovation and to ensure that discoveries in the laboratory are quickly translated into improvements in the clinic. Our industry partners will be crucial in accelerating biomarker development and use.”

Hosted by UBC, the Centre of Excellence for the Prevention of Epidemic Organ Failure (PROOF) team of world-class scientists, clinicians, health administrators, and industry partners are committed to improving the standard of care and quality of life for people facing heart, lung, and kidney disease. VCH Research Institute is one of many partners collaborating to form PROOF, with Dr. Paul Keown and Dr. Robert McMaster as co-directors and part of the management team. PROOF is one of 11 new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research that recently received funding of a combined total of $163 million through the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program.

For an agenda and a full list of speakers for this event, please click here.

Media are invited to attend the event. For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Leah Lockhart, Communications
Providence Health Care
Tel: 604-806-8882
Cell: 778-888-0948

Lisa Carver, Communications
Vancouver Coastal Health/Research Institute
Tel: 604.875.4111 x 61777
Cell: 604.319.7533