Heart Institute Surgeon-Scientist-Scholar Awarded Canadian Gold Medal for His Work to Restore a Failing Heart

    OTTAWA, Sept. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons is honouring Dr. Marc Ruel, one of the University of Ottawa Heart
Institute's (UOHI) most gifted cardiovascular surgeons, for research
excellence. He is the first cardiovascular surgeon to be awarded the gold
Royal College Medal Award in Surgery, considered by many in the medical
community to be one of the most prestigious prizes in Canadian medicine.
    At the Heart Institute, Dr. Ruel is forging new techniques in
cardiovascular surgery such as multiple grafts on a beating heart through a
small incision not much larger than a paper-clip. In addition to his surgical
skill, Dr. Ruel is an accomplished scientist, scholar and teacher. As a
researcher, Dr. Ruel's interests lie in regenerative cardiovascular medicine
where he is developing methods to transplant cells from the bloodstream to
help mend a damaged heart. Using cell therapy to improve heart function may
someday spare the need for heart transplantation and other invasive surgery.
    Dr. Ruel is part of a Heart Institute cardiovascular molecular research
program, which has a strong focus on mentoring new medical scientists. An
Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine,
Dr. Ruel also supervises students in the laboratory at the Heart Institute.
    A native of Quebec City, Dr. Ruel obtained his medical degree from the
University of Ottawa, where he also completed his cardiac training. He left
Canada in 2000 to accept a post-graduate fellowship at the Harvard University
School of Public Health. He was also a research fellow at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard University hospital in Boston. In 2002, he
returned to Ottawa to join the Heart Institute and is currently Director of
Cardiac Surgery Laboratory Research.
    The gold medal was awarded for Dr. Ruel's research, which suggests that
transplanting cells from the bloodstream could be used to regenerate blood
vessels and restore blood supply to the heart. Results of the research,
conducted in collaboration with UOHI scientist Erik Suuronen, PhD, will be
published later this year.
    "Our work at the Heart Institute shows the potential to regenerate the
heart and takes us one more step towards new treatments to restore heart
function. We are just scratching the surface in this area. But our cardiac
surgery research team is still growing, moving us into the future with a new
vision of how cardiac research will evolve," said Dr. Ruel.
    Dr. Thierry Mesana, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, UOHI, said: "Dr. Ruel
belongs to the new generation of cardiac surgeons whose expertise in
rebuilding the heart will increasingly rely on revolutionary medical tools
such as molecular biology where cell structure and function are as important
as a scalpel in surgery. Dr. Ruel's dedication and resourcefulness in the
operating room as a surgeon, in the laboratory as a scientist, and in the
classroom as a supervisor of many future scientists define the shape of
cardiovascular surgery and the discovery of new knowledge today."
    Dr. Robert Roberts, President and CEO, UOHI, said: "A pioneer in his
field, Dr. Ruel illustrates a new breed of physician who is highly
accomplished in clinical care, advanced research and teaching excellence. Dr.
Ruel has distinguished himself as a talented scientist committed to
discovering new treatments for heart disease."

    About UOHI

    The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada's largest and foremost
cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and
preventing heart disease. We deliver high-tech care with a personal touch,
shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced, and revolutionize cardiac
treatment and understanding. We build knowledge through research and translate
discoveries into advanced care. We serve the local, national and international
community, and are pioneering a new era in heart health. For more information,
visit www.ottawaheart.ca

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Marlene Orton, Senior Manager, Public Affairs,
University of Ottawa Heart Institute, (613) 761-4427, morton@ottawaheart.ca

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Ottawa Heart Institute, University of Ottawa

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