Innovative heart research has potential to save millions of Canadian lives, health costs

March 9, 2021

With major funding from Genome Canada and partnership with Roche Diagnostics International, Heart Institute researchers now poised to tackle an important health issue affecting millions of Canadians.

OTTAWA, ON, March 9, 2021 – The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) has been awarded nearly $6M in funding and in-kind contributions through Genome Canada’s Genomic Application Partnership Program (GAPP), the results of which were announced today via news release. This funding was made possible with the support of Ontario Genomics.

This GAPP funding will enable scientists at UOHI and Roche Diagnostics International to work collaboratively to develop accurate biomarkers for improved decision making, earlier detection and quicker triage to treatment for patients with atrial fibrillation, potentially saving Canada more than $200M in health costs each year.

About the project

Dr. Peter Liu, the UOHI’s vice-president of research and chief scientific officer will spearhead the “Cardiovascular Biomarker Translation 2 – Atrial Fibrillation” project. Drs. David Birnie and Pablo Nery, leading experts in atrial fibrillation; epidemiologist Jodi Edwards, PhD, and George Wells, PhD, a renowned methodologist, will support the effort as co-investigators.

“Atrial fibrillation is an important public health issue to address,” says Dr. Liu. “Its early detection and the appropriate triage to treatment is an area identified as a high priority for patients and physicians, as well as for the healthcare industries. We believe that a validated, accurate diagnostic biomarker panel for atrial fibrillation is key for improved care of patients with this condition.”

Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrythmia in the world, affecting 25% of the population over 70. The challenges and care gaps for patients with atrial fibrillation include the precision in screening, diagnosis, risk prediction, identifying pathways for appropriate treatment and optimizing outcomes.

For more information

To learn more, read the official news release available on the Genome Canada website.

Media contact

To coordinate an interview with Dr. Peter Liu or the above-mentioned co-investigators, please contact the media liaison named below.

Leigh B. Morris
Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-316-6409 (cell)