Even the most talented scientists in the world can’t do cutting-edge research without donors who help provide the necessary tools – the labs and state-of the-art equipment. This is how Dr. Duncan Stewart, The Ottawa Hospital’s executive vice president Research, speaks about philanthropy as an essential piece of the research puzzle.
“There’s no gift that’s too small. Every gift has an impact,” says Dr. Stewart. “Donors allow us to perform research that is leading to breakthroughs and better care for people in Ottawa, across Canada and indeed the world.”
In particular, Dr. Stewart notes the groundbreaking effect of untargeted donations that can be applied to improve core research resources and equipment for the whole research team.
“A revolutionary piece of new equipment can catapult multiple research projects light years ahead,” he says. “Similarly, having a team of world-class statisticians can catalyze the launch of dozens of clinical trials, each of which could represent a breakthrough for patients with a devastating disease, like cancer or multiple sclerosis.”
Maybe it’s not surprising that many of the best health researchers are already calling The Ottawa Hospital home – in part because of the hospital’s access to the best technologies to enable research and its unique approach to the integration of research and clinical care.
Researchers and physicians are closely connected, which allows the hospital to take a new discovery and quickly move it into an innovative, first-in-human clinical trial, and then implement a successful result into everyday practice. This is what the hospital is doing for patients with septic shock.
“Patients with septic shock are fighting for their lives every day in intensive care units, and they are losing this battle almost half the time – a toss of a coin – and this hasn’t changed in decades,” says Dr. Stewart. “We’ve already completed a successful pilot clinical trial to use stem cells to improve healing times in these patients, and we’re now moving into larger trials. This could be a complete game changer.”
Another exciting research project being pioneered at The Ottawa Hospital involves genetically engineering a patient’s own immune cells to track down and kill their cancer cells, called CAR-T therapy. The effect of this treatment on previously incurable, end-stage leukemias and lymphomas could be dramatic.
“We have a tremendous amount to be proud of at The Ottawa Hospital,” says Dr. Stewart. “We must always remember that we wouldn’t be where we are in reimagining health care if it weren’t for the incredible generosity of our community. They share our vision, and they too share our success.”
For more on how your philanthropy has helped revolutionize health care, visit ohfoundation.ca.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.