University of Ottawa Heart Institute

University of Ottawa Heart Institute

October 15, 2014 12:39 ET

Significant Funding Awarded to Canadian Researchers to Personalize Care of Heart Failure Patients

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 15, 2014) - Canadian Researchers, led by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, in collaboration with Roche Diagnostics International, Ltd., has received a $6 million grant to help improve the diagnosis and care of heart failure in hospitals around the world, including over $1.9 million from Genome Canada.

Today's funding announcement will enable the team to fast-track scientific innovations into practical applications -determining the best clinical indication to impact on patient care and decision making for the benefit of heart failure patients.

Through the Genomic Applied Program initiative from Genome Canada, the team, led by Dr. Peter Liu, Chief Scientific Officer at the Ottawa Heart Institute, and Dr. Gabriella Bucklar-Suchankova, from Roche Diagnostics International Ltd., has recently been able to accelerate their collaboration on new bedside tests using novel biomarkers for heart failure that can be used in the near future by physicians worldwide.

"This is a landmark opportunity to allow Canadian researchers to work with the best international partners, to translate Canadian innovations into benefits for not only our Canadian patients, but those from all over the world," said Dr. Liu, project leader and Chief Scientific Officer at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Traditionally, physicians have relied on stethoscopes and patient's stories to diagnose and treat heart failure. Over time, this approach has proven to be unreliable, and may have impeded progress in the field. With modern technology, health professionals can now detect new forms of small proteins released in the blood from the heart, to better diagnose and classify heart disease. Dr. Liu's team has previously identified a number of novel markers for different types of heart failure discovered through large scale systematic protein searches. This has resulted in several new tests that have the potential to change how heart failure patients are diagnosed and treated in the future.

Heart failure (or poor functioning of the heart muscle in pumping blood throughout the body) is currently the most common and most challenging chronic cardiovascular disease. Over 40 million patients worldwide currently suffer from heart failure, and its outlook is worse than most forms of cancer. In Canada, over 600,000 patients suffer from heart failure, and each year the disease costs over $8 billion in patient hospitalizations alone. To improve heart failure care, physicians need to make an accurate diagnosis early, to properly classify heart failure and provide the most appropriate treatment to the right patient at the right time.


As Canada's largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute is dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing heart disease. We serve the local, national, and international communities as we pioneer a new era in heart health.


Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, anti-malarials and chemotherapy.

Contact Information

  • Vincent Lamontagne
    Senior Manager, Public Affairs
    University of Ottawa Heart Institute
    613-899-6760 (cell)