SOURCE: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Heart and Stroke Foundation

October 23, 2015 07:00 ET

Heart and Stroke Foundation Research Propelled Through Visionary Partnership

2015 CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Research Award Recipients Announced

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 23, 2015) - The Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canadian Pacific (CP) are proud to announce the 2015 CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Award recipients -- 10 Canadian cardiovascular research projects that will receive funding because of a visionary partnership between the Foundation and CP. This partnership, announced in May 2015, is a bold initiative that will move cardiovascular research forward in Canada, at a time when research funding from traditional sources has been on the decline.

Through its CP Has Heart community investment program, CP committed $3 million over three years to support cardiovascular research with a focus on multi-generational health. The research projects announced today cover topics as diverse as preventing heart damage from viral infections, personalizing treatments for a genetic disorder that can prove fatal for Canadians under 30, and examining the impact of fertility drugs on the heart health of women.

"This is the first time in the history of the Heart and Stroke Foundation that a corporate partner has made such a forward-thinking investment in Canadian cardiovascular research," says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "CP's generous support will propel medical advances by the Canadian cardiovascular community to create longer, healthier futures for families from coast to coast."

Ray Johnson knows first-hand the impact of medical advances on families. While he was in hospital recovering from triple bypass surgery, Ray's daughter was admitted one floor away, in labour. Things quickly became dire when the baby's heart rate registered off the charts. Baby Atli entered this world with chaotic atrial tachycardia, an irregular heart beat.

"Thanks to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, both my grandson and I have benefited from treatments that extend the lives of patients of all ages," says Ray. He is grateful for each day he spends with Atli and the rest of his family.

Through its visionary corporate leadership, CP will help to write more stories like Ray's. The CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Research Awards will be presented to the recipients at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress on Sunday, October 25, 2015 in Toronto.

"The focus of our CP Has Heart program is to improve the heart health of men, women and children across North America, particularly in those communities in which our railroad operates," said Mark Wallace, VP Corporate Affairs and Chief of Staff. "Our partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Awards, means the best minds in cardiology in Canada can continue to transform lives and help create healthier communities today and for the future."

The award recipients were selected through the Heart and Stroke Foundation's gold standard peer review process. In 2015, 454 grant applications were received by the Foundation and peer reviewed by 150 volunteer experts. The CP Has Heart Cardiovascular award recipients represent cardiovascular research excellence in Canada.

CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Award 2015 Recipients

Dr. John Dawson, University of Guelph

Hunting the cause of a potential killer

When a competitive athlete suddenly collapses and dies, the cause is often hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a thickening of the heart muscle. This study examines how specific proteins can interact to cause HCM in patients with an inherited defect in the heart protein cardiac actin, with a goal to prevent and treat this life-threatening condition.

Dr. John Eikelboom, McMaster University

Creating better outcomes for patients on blood thinners

Blood thinning medications to reduce the risk of clots are routinely used to prevent heart attack and stroke, but they can also cause bleeding. This study will identify the risk factors for bleeding in patients receiving these medications, with an aim to develop new strategies for preventing heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Slava Epelman, University of Toronto

How can we prevent heart damage from viral infections?

Viral infections can leave the heart damaged and vulnerable to develop heart failure in adults and children. This study examines the role of the heart's own immune cells in battling viral infections and how they may actually contribute to heart damage through inflammation, with an aim to find new therapies to protect the heart from damage.

Dr. Paul Kubes, University of Calgary

Microscopic technology will reveal keys to preventing blood vessel damage

Damage to the inner lining of blood vessels occurs in many types of cardiovascular disease, yet we don't fully understand how or why this happens. Using sophisticated microscopes, this study examines the potential role of the body's own defenses in causing this damage which could lead to more targeted treatments to prevent blood vessel damage.

Dr. Gregoire Le Gal, University of Ottawa

Building a better test to detect dangerous blood clots

When blood clots form in the leg veins, a fast, accurate diagnosis is critical to avoid the potentially fatal risk of clots travelling to the lungs. This study investigates a more accurate age-adjusted test to help doctors diagnose and treat clots faster, saving lives and preventing unnecessary blood-thinning therapy for patients who don't need it.

Dr. Shubhayan Sanatani, University of British Columbia

Reducing the toll of a deadly heart defect

A heart rhythm disorder known as CPVT can kill as many as half of those who have it by age 30. We know little about it, and who is at highest risk for cardiac arrest and sudden death. This study is the first to address CPVT on a large scale by establishing a detailed registry of patients, including family history and blood samples, and could save lives through personalized treatments.

Dr. Richard Schulz, University of Alberta

Targeted drugs could help promote better recovery from heart attack

When blood flow to the heart is blocked in a heart attack, permanent damage and eventual heart failure can result - both from the blockage and from its removal to restore normal flow. This investigation of how the protein MMP-2 contributes to heart injury could lead to identifying inhibitor drugs to prevent heart failure and save lives.

Dr. Craig Simmons, University of Toronto

Finding a treatment for diseased heart valves

When heart valves are diseased they stop functioning properly, putting strain on the heart. This study investigates if a molecule called CNP can help slow the progression of calcific aortic valve disease, with a long-term goal to improve patients' quality of life.

Dr. Jacob Udell, University of Toronto

Do fertility drugs affect women's heart health?

More Canadian women are using fertility drugs to get pregnant, yet we know little about their long-term effects. This is the first study of the association between fertility treatment failure and the risk of cardiovascular events that could lead to saving the lives of more Canadian women.

Dr. Shi Wu Wen, University of Ottawa

Could fertility treatments be linked to heart defects in some pregnancies?

Congenital heart defects occur when the heart or nearby blood vessels don't develop normally before birth, affecting about 3,000 pregnancies each year in Canada. This study is focused on the impact of assisted reproductive technology to determine whether babies born to obese mothers are more likely to have congenital heart defects than those born to non-obese mothers.

About CP

Canadian Pacific is a transcontinental railway in Canada and the United States with direct links to eight major ports, including Vancouver and Montreal, providing North American customers a competitive rail service with access to key markets in every corner of the globe. CP is growing with its customers, offering a suite of freight transportation services, logistics solutions and supply chain expertise. Visit to see the rail advantages of Canadian Pacific.

About CP Has Heart

At CP we know that a railroad may serve as the arteries of a nation, but at its heart is community. That's why through CP Has Heart, we're improving the heart health of men, women and children across North America. Since its inception, CP Has Heart has committed more than $6 million dollars to heart health initiatives in communities across Canada. And along the way, we're showing heart whenever we can. Find out more on or @CPhasHeart.

About the Heart and Stroke Foundation

The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen. Learn how at

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