What is health research?
Health research finds new ways to prevent illness, detect diseases, and test new treatments. Right now there are thousands of active clinical studies happening in Alberta. That’s a lot of opportunities to get involved in your health care, and we can only get results with your help.
What is health research doing?
Research is changing the way health care services are provided every day. Here are just a few examples of discoveries made right here in Alberta.
Dr. John Remmers of the University of Calgary discovers sleep apnea is caused by a narrowing of the pharynx and creates the CPAP machine, the current world standard of treatment.
Canada’s first islet transplant is carried out by the Islet Transplant group at the University of Alberta in the quest to find better diabetes treatments.
University of Calgary’s Dr. Sam Weiss discovers neural stem cells in adult mammal brains. This leads to new approaches for brain cell replacement and repair, dispelling false ideas that the brain can’t regenerate.
Dr. Shapiro from the University of Alberta works with the Islet Transplantation Group to develop The Edmonton Protocol, reducing dependence on insulin in people with type 1 diabetes.
Researchers create a new technique so people with severe Type 1 diabetes can stop taking insulin for a short time, making treatment safer and more convenient for patients.
A trans-cranial Doppler device shows doctors if an intravenous stroke treatment is working. Ultrasound waves determine if arteries are open and how blood is flowing.
The Zeidler Gastrointestinal Health Centre opens. This is Canada’s first clinical facility dedicated to gastroenterology.
Researchers find a new way to treat E. coli by preventing the bacterium from reaching the kidneys.
A researcher finds a biomarker in prostate cancer patients that tells doctors if the cancer will come back or spread. This way they can treat patients earlier and more aggressively.
University of Calgary researchers make a key advance in connecting brain cells to a silicon chip. This “neurochip” screens drugs for patients with brain disorders and determines which ones are likely to be effective.
Developed by Dr. Garnette Sutherland and the team at the University of Calgary, the world’s first MRI-compatible surgical robot is capable of both microsurgery and image-guided biopsy.
New bioreactor technology created by Dr. Derrick Rancourt and Dr. Roman Krawetz of the University of Calgary allows for the production of millions of stem cells without the risk of cancer.
Inspired by a complex suture pattern, an Edmonton doctor develops a wound-clamping device to stop hemorrhaging, one of the leading causes of preventable death.
Alberta researchers learn that a viral strain of hepatitis C can treat all known strains of the virus.
Researchers at the Cross Cancer Institute find that combining two existing drugs doubles the life expectancy of patients with multiple myeloma.
A non-invasive, electrode-based cardiac system gives real-time access to heart data without the use of a catheter. This reduces patient discomfort and lowers the time spent gathering cardiac readings from hours to just minutes.
A surgical robot joins the staff at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women to help patients with uterine and cervical cancer. Surgeries now result in less pain, less bleeding, and faster recovery.
The Alberta-run ESCAPE Trial results in a groundbreaking stroke treatment procedure that reduces the number of stroke-caused deaths by 50%.
Research is helping advance knowledge, improve our world, and shape the future.
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are just one of the many ways that the public can participate in research. They answer our health questions and find the answers to today’s most pressing diseases and conditions. But you don’t have to be sick to participate: healthy volunteers are just as important to clinical trials as people with medical conditions.
“As a parent of two very young children… my voice matters.”
Laura was invited to participate in a study to improve communication between physicians, pediatric patients, and the patients’ families. At that time she realized how important her input is in guiding the health care for her children and herself. She believes that a sustainable, effective health care system doesn’t exist without patient involvement.
“The value of clinical research is in front of us every day. It’s up to us to really appreciate it.”
Shanine’s daughter was diagnosed with biliary atresia as a newborn and underwent a successful liver transplant at just nine months old. Shanine says, “You see that there’s no way that the clinical advances and the help that your child had received would have even been possible without these kinds of studies and this kind of research being done… You sort of want to give back.”