Scientists at the Providence Heart + Lung Institute Receive $15 Million to Help Prevent Organ Failure

Vancouver, February 20, 2008 — Prevention of one of Canada’s leading health burdens has received a boost thanks to $15 million in federal funding awarded to the scientists at the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital, with the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Rolled out over five years, the funding will be used to create the Prevention of Epidemic Organ Failure Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (PROOF CECR), which will lead the way in finding practical solutions to vital organ failure and its impact on Canadians and our health care system.

“This funding is exciting news and will help the team at the Heart + Lung Institute, with the partnerships throughout the UBC community, pursue new discoveries to benefit Canadians faced with heart, lung and kidney failure,” says Dr. Bruce McManus, the inaugural director of the Institute.

“Every Canadian is affected by the epidemic of vital organ failure threatening our society. By challenging this epidemic with innovation, the PROOF CECR is committed to significantly decreasing the costs to society and helping to propel Canadians toward improved personal and economic health.”

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. The impact of heart failure alone outstrips other causes of disability, illness, and death in Canada and throughout the world.

The Centre’s approach will focus on moving away from drug-only strategies towards biomarker-guided prevention and effective early detection of primary diseases that cause organ failure. Rapid advances in the “personalization” of care – giving appropriate treatment or preventative program to the right person, only when needed – will continue to decrease the cost and the potential adverse effects of treating common, burdensome diseases.

The PROOF CECR is one of 11 new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research that received funding of a combined total of $163 million through the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program. British Columbia will be host for the first of these CECRs including one focused on prostate disease, drug discovery and partial physics.

Launched in June 2007, the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital merges and integrates all of Providence’s heart and lung research, education and care programs under one umbrella. It is the only such institute of its kind in Canada. Its mandate is to transform cardiovascular and pulmonary research and care—transferring new care solutions from the laboratory to the clinics and communities to improve the lives of British Columbians.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leah Lockhart
Communications Specialist
Providence Health Care