The Montreal Heart Institute secures a grant of close to $ 5 million as part of the Génome Québec competition fostering partnerships between industry and research centres



    MONTREAL, Oct. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) has
learned with great pride that its research project based on a mixed
academic/private partnership in pharmacogenomics has been selected for the new
PRIVAC competition launched by Génome Québec.
    Pharmacogenomics is a rapidly growing field where genomic information is
integrated so as to customize treatment and thereby improve the effectiveness
and reduce the toxicity of medications. The importance of these issues is
better understood when it's considered that in Canada, adverse drug reactions
alone account for an estimated $10 billion in annual health care costs. The
challenge now lies in ensuring that scientific and technological advances and
breakthroughs in pharmacogenomics translate into techniques, approaches and
procedures that can be applied in clinical medicine. This concern is central
to the project receiving the grant today. In partnership with VIA
Pharmaceuticals of California, and thanks to financing from Génome Québec and
MDEIE, the MHI research team led by principal researchers Drs. Jean-Claude
Tardif and Michael Phillips will develop the clinical infrastructure required
to conduct pharmacogenomic clinical trials in Québec, Canada and elsewhere in
the world.
    This structuring project is consistent with large-scale MHI projects that
have received major investments in recent years: two projects in
pharmacogenomics and clinical research financed by the Canada Foundation for
Innovation and the Government of Québec; the construction of the Université de
Montréal's Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre at the MHI; and a research
project financed by Génome Québec and Genome Canada on pharmacogenomics
applied to the cardiovascular field. These investments have totalled more than
$50 million.
    "The new technologies and approaches developed will have a major impact
on our capacity to conduct large-scale clinical trials and will make us that
much more competitive internationally," said Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, director
of the MHI Research Centre and professor of medicine at the Université de
Montréal. Dr. Tardif is in charge of the project.
    Mr. Robert Busilacchi, Executive Director of the MHI, singled out the
colossal effort made by a generous couple to support pharmacogenomics: "The
exceptional donation made by Mr. Michel Saucier and Ms. Gisèle Beaulieu in
2005 for the construction of the Pharmacogenomics Centre created a leverage
effect that, in conjunction with other investments, made it possible to
undertake the project announced today." Mr. Busilacchi also emphasized that
the project is consistent with the MHI's strategic vision whereby its choices
are meant to make the Institute a world-wide leader in selected areas.

    About the Montreal Heart Institute

    Founded in 1954, the Montreal Heart Institute constantly aims for the
highest standards of excellence in the cardiovascular field through its
leadership in prevention, ultra-specialized care, training of professionals,
clinical and fundamental research, and assessment of new technologies. It is
affiliated with the Université de Montréal and its clinical outcomes are among
the best in the world. The MHI Research Centre officially came into existence
in 1976 and has made enormous strides since its creation. Today, there are
approximately 450 employees, students and researchers at the MHI Research
Center. The MHI's outstanding feature is the balance it achieves between basic
research, clinical research and clinical care. Its prime focus areas of
research are vascular diseases, myocardial function and electrophysiology.
Genetics, genomics (including pharmacogenomics), biomarkers and preventive
cardiology are other areas of focus. To learn more about the Institute, please
visit our website at www.icm-mhi.org.

    About the Université de Montréal

    Founded in 1878, the Université de Montréal now has 13 faculties, and
with its two affiliate schools, HEC Montréal et l'Ecole Polytechnique,
constitutes the leading centre for higher learning and research in Québec, the
second in Canada, and one of the largest in North America. Its faculty of
medicine is the largest in Canada in terms of student enrolment, and one of
the major centres for health research in the country. Since 1999, its
graduates have ranked first on the Medical Council of Canada's national
examinations.




For further information:

For further information: Doris Prince, Head, Communications and Public
Relations, Montreal Heart Institute, (514) 376-3330, ext. 3074,
doris.prince@icm-mhi.org

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Montreal Heart Institute

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Université de Montréal

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