10 years of research

3 min
Dr Roy Hajjar

Dr. Roy Hajjar

Thanks to a decade of efforts, the CHUM Research Centre has made incredible scientific advances and developed promising treatments. Overview of research impact.

About the microbiome

The research team of Manuela Santos and doctors Carole Richard and Roy Hajjar show for the first time in mice that changing intestinal flora before surgery reduces postoperative complications in people with colorectal cancer.

Dr. Bertrand Routy and Dr. Rahima Jamal, hematologist-oncologists, have succeeded in obtaining a better response to immunotherapy, the treatment of choice against melanoma. How? By first manipulating the intestinal microbiome of patients, 65% of whom had their cancer regress. Typically, with immunotherapy alone, less than half of all patients experience such success.

Disruption of the intestinal microbiota may be involved in the onset and progression of numerous incurable neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Alex Parker’s team shows that a probiotic bacteria prevents neurodegeneration in the worm C. elegans, an animal model used to study ALS.

On boldness

Did you know that some surgeries for head or neck cancer require facial reconstructions combining plastic surgery and the use of prostheses? To help patients conquer their future identity, Jacques de Guise and his team create digital 3D models of their face. These models simulate the damaging impacts of surgery and depict virtually the new physical appearance of their face.

Have you heard of knee kinesiography? 

It’s a kind of knee “electrocardiogram”. This diagnostic tool was developed by scientists at CRCHUM and the School of Higher Technology under the direction of Nicola Hagemeister. This innovation will help family doctors to detect anomalies related to knee arthrosis and injuries more easily. This will help them to adapt the treatment to each case’s characteristics.

Nanotubes help us to see

Adriana Di Polo and her team have discovered a new structure—nanotubes—by which retinal cells communicate with each other to regulate the blood supply essential for vision. In people with glaucoma, these nanotubes are damaged, which leads to neurovascular deficits.

Slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis 

Dr. Alexandre Prat’s team has identified a molecule called ALCAM which, once blocked, halts the progression of auto-immune disease. Their results, taken from in-vitro trials in humans and in-vivo trials in mice, could lead to the development of a new generation of treatments.

A can opener to disarm HIV

Imagine the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as a hermetically sealed tin can that nobody is able to open. Andrés Finzi and his colleagues have discovered a new mechanism, a kind of can opener, that forces the virus to expose its vulnerable parts. This allows the immune system to kill the infected cells.

Lung cancer: a less invasive surgical intervention 

Dr. Moishe Liberman has paved the way for the extensive use of the thoracoscopic lobectomy. This is a video-assisted thoracic surgery combined with ultrasonic sealing of the pulmonary artery. This surgical technique allows a faster recovery.

Promising immunotherapy 

30,000 Canadians receive a diagnosis of lung cancer every year. The most common type, non-small cell lung cancer, represents between 80% and 85% of all cases. A recent phase 2 clinical study supporting anti-CD73 therapy, foresees encouraging results. Behind the development of this immunotherapy is investigator John Stagg and his team.

Treating diabetes more effectively

The team led by Marc Prentki has opened new therapeutic avenues for treating obesity and diabetes by discovering a glucose detoxification enzyme: G3PP.

Hepatitis C: two exceptional investigators

Worldwide, hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) affects 58 million people. Over 95% of people infected can be cured with antiviral medications, but access to diagnosis and treatment remains limited.

At the forefront of this public health battle is Naglaa Shoukry. Since 2015, she has directed the National Hepatitis C Collaborative Network. This new pan-Canadian network seeks to improve the health of people living with Hepatitis C and the prevention of new infections.

She collaborates with Dr. Julie Bruneau, one of the first doctors to treat hepatitis C in drug users. Dr. Bruneau is one of three instigators of a vast multidisciplinary project aimed at making Montreal the first North American city to eradicate HCV.

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10 years together series

10 years of research


10 years together