Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease: In search of the missing link - International research project involving Pfizer Canada, the CIHR and Université Laval launched in Quebec City

    QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Pfizer Canada, the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Université Laval are today announcing
the creation of an international research chair aimed at understanding and
explaining insulin resistance and the risk of cardiovascular complications in
diabetic obese patients. Pfizer Canada is injecting $1.05 million, and the
CIHR close to $600,000, both over a 5-year period, into this innovative
research project headed by Dr. André Marette. A first in Canada, the
Pfizer-CIHR Research Chair on the Pathogenesis of Insulin Resistance and
Cardiovascular Disease is being set up in the Cardiology Unit of Hôpital
Laval, a Université Laval-affiliated hospital, in Quebec City.
    At least 80% of obese individuals will develop type 2 diabetes and
cardiovascular disease (heart disease, blood vessel disease, stroke) during
their lifetime. Insulin resistance is recognized as a primary cause of the
development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is intimately linked
with obesity. The more obese an individual is, the more adipose tissue leading
to insulin resistance he or she will have. The greater the obesity, especially
in the abdominal region, the greater the insulin resistance and the more the
pancreas is overloaded and likely to burn out, which causes type 2 diabetes.
Because of their being overweight, it is estimated that 40% of Canadians (and
Americans) have insulin resistance and are therefore at risk for developing

    The missing link: The answer might be in adipose tissue

    The holder of the Chair, Dr. André Marette, an expert in the molecular
and physiological mechanisms of insulin resistance, diabetes and
cardiovascular disease, explains: "Adipose tissue, which is a gland similar in
mechanism to the pancreas, does more than just store fat. It also produces
certain proinflammatory proteins that cause insulin resistance in the tissues
that control the blood glucose level, such as muscle, liver and blood vessels.
This link between obesity and diabetes has been proven, but the molecular
causes are still unknown. It remains to be determined what can be done to
counter this pathological link and its role in high risk diabetic obese
individuals developing cardiovascular complications. Our hope with this
research is to shed light on the mechanisms by which these proinflammatory
proteins cause diabetes and cardiovascular complications and to discover new
promising treatment options for diabetic obese patients."
    "Pfizer Canada is once again a leading partner with Quebec's academic
community and Canada's health research institutions," says Paul Lévesque,
President and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer Canada. "The objective of this
international research chair is promising and should provide an answer to the
question about the missing link between obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular
disease. Although much research has been carried out on diabetes over the past
50 years, current medications for treating diabetes and obesity are not
meeting patients' needs." In Canada and worldwide, Pfizer has, for many years,
been involved in cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment and is
pursuing research in the field of obesity and diabetes.
    "The awarding of this research chair reflects the CIHR's strategy of
emphasizing excellence for developing advanced research," says Dr. Alain
Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
"Dr. Marette's work concerns the juncture of research on diabetes, obesity and
cardiovascular disease, three areas in which Canadian publications have had a
major impact at the international level. There is no question that research
generated by the research chair will significantly help advance our knowledge
in these areas and improve the health of Canadians."
    For his part, the Rector of Université Laval, Denis Brière, welcomes the
talent, leadership and boldness of the university's researchers, who, like
Dr. Marette, devote their energies to such important endeavours: "We're very
much in need of such dedicated scientists, especially in the area of health,
where each discovery can save lives." Brière is also delighted about this
major partnership between Université Laval, Pfizer and the CIHR, whose support
will enable this chair to conduct innovative and scientifically and important
    Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer Canada's
commitment to helping Canadians live happier, healthier and longer lives
extends beyond medication. To learn more about Pfizer Canada's More than
Medication philosophy and programs, visit www.morethanmedication.ca.
    The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of
Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new
scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health,
more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian
health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and
support to more than 11,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
    Located in Quebec's historic capital, a World Heritage City, Université
Laval is the first French-language university in North America. It is one of
Canada's leading research universities, ranking 8th among the country's
93 university-level institutions in terms of research funding with
$259 million devoted to research last year. Université Laval's
1,500 professors-researchers share their knowledge with 38,000 students,
10,000 of whom are enrolled in graduate-level programs.

    /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: Mylène Champoux, Université Laval, (418)
656-2131, ext. 5754; Sylvie Tessier, Pfizer Canada, (514) 247-9467; Michael
Dwyer, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, (613) 941-0688

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