November 07, 2006 15:30 ET


Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Centre Celebrates new Centre and Thanks Generous Supporters

Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor TORONTO/ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2006) - Today, Sunnybrook's Schulich Heart Centre officially became home to the state-of-the-art, imaging research centre for cardiac intervention to bring together the latest imaging technology with the best minds in clinical care and research.

Uniquely designed to combine multiple medical imaging modalities such as x-ray, ultrasound and magnetic resonance (MRI), the Imaging Research Centre for Cardiac Intervention (IRCCI) will put Toronto on the map as a leading centre for cardiac imaging. The IRCCI will act as a core resource for University of Toronto teaching hospitals including Sunnybrook, University Health Network and St. Michael's Hospital.

"Heart disease remains the number-one killer of Canadians, and this research centre will help change that trend by developing breakthrough technologies for improving patient care," said Leo Steven, Sunnybrook President and CEO. "Sunnybrook is proud to be host to such a vitally important centre. We are proud of our staff for making this a reality and we are grateful for the tremendous support we have received from funding agencies, the provincial and federal government and of course our generous donors."

Integrating various forms of imaging tools will provide clinicians and researchers with updated information to guide their decisions for optimal approaches and methods for cardiac investigation, which will improve the detection of cardiac disease and the outcomes of interventional procedures for patients.

"Sunnybrook Research Institute's heart and circulation faculty are known as some of the best in the world for their pioneering work," says Dr. Michael Julius, Vice-President, Research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "The IRCCI brings research and clinical teams even more closely together as they work towards their shared aim of developing and testing new diagnostics and treatments-and speeding those into the clinic, for the benefit of patients that need it most."

"The research here at Sunnybrook will help develop early detection and treatment of heart disease, helping reduce the burden on our health care system while improving the quality of life for Ontarians," said Kathleen Wynne, Education Minister and MPP for Don Valley West. "That's why our government proudly values and supports centres of innovation like the Schulich Heart Centre."

One of the many novel features of the Centre is the imaging suite where patients involved in clinical trials will be examined with multiple imaging techniques before, during, and after therapy without having to move to distant locations throughout the hospital. Essentially, the patient is literally moved through a conveyor-belt of imaging technology.

At a total project cost of $15 million, there are a number of organizations and individuals who have contributed to the development of the IRCCI including the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT), GE Healthcare, Dr. Seymour Schulich, Philips Medical, Novadaq Technologies, and BioSense Webster.

"This state-of-the-art facility sets a new standard for the future of heart disease research," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. "The investment we are celebrating today will enable researchers to tackle one of Canada's most pressing health issues in innovative new ways. Its impact on the lives of Canadians will be real and long-lasting."

"The Imaging Research Centre for Cardiac Intervention is a terrific example of what can be achieved through collaboration when imaging scientists, radiologists, and developers of new technologies come together with a common goal," said Kenneth W. Knox, president of the Ontario Innovation Trust. "On behalf of the people of Ontario we congratulate Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and your research partners. Through the IRCCI, the Trust is proud to be a player in providing world-class tools to researchers so they can do the leading-edge cardiac research that will benefit not just Ontarians, but the world."

There are 15 investigators from three participating hospitals involved in the IRCCI, many of whom are members of the Ontario Consortium for Cardiac Imaging, a province-wide project funded by the Ontario government and investment from the private sector that is dedicated to the establishment of a world-leading centre in cardiac imaging information for use in patient management.

About Sunnybrook
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is transforming health care through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff, physicians and volunteers who provide compassionate and innovative patient focused care. An internationally recognized leader in academic research and education and an affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada's premier health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for newborns, adults and the elderly, treating and preventing cancer, neurological and psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular disease, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.

About the Ontario Innovation Trust
The Ontario Innovation Trust was created in 1999 by the Government of Ontario to invest in research equipment and facilities at Ontario's universities, colleges, hospitals and other non-profit research institutions. The Trust is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, according to the terms of a Trust agreement established by the Ontario government. Since its inception, the Trust has committed almost $845 million to strengthen Ontario's position in the global marketplace of ideas.

For further information:

Nadia Norcia Radovini
Communications & Stakeholder Relations
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
(416) 480-4040

Angus McKinnon
Coordinator, Media Relations
Canada Foundation for Innovation
(613) 996-3160

Bob Kalbfleisch
Senior Communications Advisor
Ontario Innovation Trust
(519) 572-1112
/For further information: IN: HEALTH

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