Adolfo de Bold, PhD, and Dr. Michel Le May are among eight Canadians whose work is being honoured as Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research. The new award, given jointly by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), represents the first ever such recognition and celebration of Canadian health research and innovation excellence.
The award winners were selected by a blueribbon, peer-review panel of Canadian and international experts. The goal of the panel was to identify the discoveries and innovations with the most significant impact on the health of people in Canada and around the world.
Adolfo de Bold is Director of the Cardiovascular Endocrinology Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Through years of dedicated laboratory work, he made one of the landmark discoveries in cardiovascular physiology and established the area of research for which his lab is named.
In 1981, de Bold discovered atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), a hormone produced in the heart. He found that, through ANF, the heart is able to regulate blood pressure, blood volume, and the growth of cardiovascular tissue. This groundbreaking work revealed that the heart has a previously unknown endocrine function and led to the discovery of additional related hormones.
Since then, the number of scientific papers stemming from his discovery has run to the tens of thousands. Associated diagnostic and therapeutic tools in use today include a widely employed biomarker for cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure and drugs to treat congestive heart failure.
“This discovery has received a great deal of international recognition over the years. But this award is special,” said de Bold. “It is recognition from your close peers here in Canada. In many ways, it is that recognition that is most difficult to attain and most pleasing to receive.”
Dr. Michel Le May, a Heart Institute cardiologist, has developed an acclaimed program that insures standardized treatment for a type of heart attack called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
“A distinguished national award, such as this, is an honour, but not just for me,” said Dr. Le May. “I am part of a very large team of dedicated professionals who go to work everyday with the goal of saving lives. They have made a supreme effort to develop a creative, more efficient means of delivering emergency medical services.”
The Heart Institute’s STEMI program, which reduces related deaths be 50 per cent, evolved from trials led by Dr. Le May. His research and protocol are acclaimed in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Elements of the program have been adopted in several cities across Canada as the standard in emergency heart attack treatment.