Significant investments in British Columbia healthcare set the province at the forefront of research in HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular prevention



    Pfizer Canada announces $4.25 M to two B.C. research initiatives

    $3M to the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for the development of a
    virus strain test in Canada

    $1.25M to St. Paul's Hospital Foundation and Simon Fraser University to
    establish the first Canadian Chair in cardiovascular prevention research

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada is announcing today two
significant healthcare research investments in British Columbia totaling
$4.25 million. The first is an investment at the internationally renowned
British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the second is at St.
Paul's Hospital Foundation and Simon Fraser University to establish the first
Canadian research chair in cardiovascular prevention.
    The development in Canada of an important tropism virus strain test for
HIV/AIDS with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS will receive support
with a $3 million investment by Pfizer. Currently available only in the United
States, this blood screening test would be one of the solutions available to
deal with HIV/AIDS drug resistance in Canada because it enables identification
of the tropism of the virus (either CCR5-tropic or CXCR4-tropic). This would
then allow treating physicians to prescribe the appropriate treatment regimen.
    Pfizer Canada is also announcing the contribution of $1.25 million to St.
Paul's Hospital Foundation and Simon Fraser University for the creation of the
first Canadian research chair in cardiovascular prevention research. This new,
innovative Simon Fraser University chair will be named the "Pfizer/Heart and
Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research at St. Paul's
Hospital". Other contributions to this chair include $1 million from an
anonymous donor to St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, $750,000 from the Heart and
Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon and $1.5 million from Simon Fraser University,
for a total of more than $4.6 million, one of the largest in the country. Both
research initiatives are to be housed in St. Paul's Hospital, part of
Providence Health Care.
    "Our support of these two B.C.-led initiatives demonstrates Pfizer
Canada's commitment to excellence in healthcare research in the province and
for the benefit of all Canadians," says Paul Lévesque, President and CEO of
Pfizer Canada. "We are extremely pleased to participate in bringing to Canada
a novel test - called a tropism test - which will benefit all HIV/AIDS
patients experiencing resistance to their current treatment and allow their
physician to better target the appropriate treatment regimen."
    "The second investment is a unique academic partnership to create the
first Canadian chair in cardiovascular prevention research, and Pfizer Canada
is proud to bring this vision to reality. This Chair is of paramount
importance because much of what we know about cardiovascular disease is
preventable," adds Mr. Lévesque.
    "We thank Pfizer for making this significant investment in both the BC
Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the Providence Heart and Lung Institute
at St. Paul's Hospital," said Dianne Doyle President & CEO of Providence
Health Care. "These initiatives will further our research agenda in two
important areas of emphasis - HIV/AIDS and cardiac - and help the patients
that we serve."

    Tropism test beneficial to all HIV/AIDS patients in Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    "Dr. Richard Harrigan and his team at the BC Centre for Excellence in
HIV/AIDS will initiate a large scale program to develop and validate a rapid
and novel laboratory blood test as a means of predicting HIV tropism. The
tropism test allows identification of patients who respond to certain targeted
HIV medications," explains Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the BC Centre for
Excellence in HIV/AIDS. "The HIV patient being tested can have his specific
type of tropic strain identified (either CCR5-tropic or CXCR4-tropic)."

    Chair in cardiovascular prevention research - a first in Canada
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    "The chair's research program aims at better understanding cardiovascular
diseases and prevention strategies. This is a must as cardiovascular disease
can be prevented in many cases, yet it is still the leading cause of death in
Canada. This new chair will leverage the public health research strength of
Simon Fraser University's new and rapidly growing Faculty of Health Sciences
and build on the clinical and academic programs at St. Paul's Hospital," says
Dr. Michael Stevenson, President and Vice Chancellor of Simon Fraser
University.
    "This initiative fills an important gap provincially, nationally and
internationally. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is pleased to be part of this
important endeavour, supporting the advancement of life-saving research that
will make a difference to the heart health of British Columbians. In BC alone,
the Heart and Stroke Foundation has contributed over $100 million since the
1950s to support world-class research at BC universities and hospitals," adds
Bobbe Wood, President & CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon.
    "This new endowed chair is not only the first of its kind in Canada, but
it is also an opportunity to recruit a world-renowned scientist focused on
cardiovascular disease prevention to British Columbia," said Dr. Andrew
Ignaszewski, Division Head of Cardiology at St. Paul's Hospital/Providence
Health Care. "I would like to thank all of our partners for coming together to
support this initiative - one of the largest endowments in cardiovascular care
in the history of Canadian medicine and research. Our team is looking forward
to raising funds to establish more endowed chairs in support of world-class
research within Providence's new Heart and Lung Institute at St. Paul's
Hospital."

    Backgrounders on the tropism test, the BC Centre for Excellence in
HIV/AIDS, and the "Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular
Prevention Research at St. Paul's Hospital" are available at the following
link: http://files.newswire.ca/29/Pfizer_backgrounders.doc





For further information:

For further information: Sylvie Tessier, Pfizer Canada, (514) 247-9467;
Stephen Burega, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS, (604) 506-3734; Anne
McLaughlin, St. Paul's Hospital Foundation, (604) 806-8917; Erica Branda,
Simon Fraser University, (778) 782-3353; Gavin Wilson, Providence Health Care,
(604) 806-8583; Tom Gies, Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon, (604)
671-4042


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