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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 13, 2010

Clinical research at its best: science helping patients, patients advancing science

SickKids opens new home for clinical research

TORONTO – At only three and a half years old, Jake Da Luz couldn’t walk, because he suffered from pain and limited joint movement. He was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The existing treatments weren’t working, so Jake was invited to participate in a drug trial at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Nearly two years later, Jake, who is now six, is not only walking, but playing hockey.  

Jake’s story is an example of how clinical research can directly benefit patients. This morning, SickKids opened its new Physiological Research Unit to facilitate further research not only into juvenile arthritis, but also into other complex childhood diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, congenital heart disease and obesity.

Accommodating studies on both healthy and chronically ill children, the Unit is located right in the Hospital to provide a safe environment for patients and volunteers, from birth to adulthood. With dedicated research nurses monitoring the participants at all times, scientists can be assured that their clinical results are accurate, while participants are cared for in a secure and controlled setting. 

The Physiological Research Unit includes assessment/procedure rooms, treatment rooms, infant pulmonary function labs, an exercise laboratory and a research kitchen for the preparation of experimental diets. The facility offers less invasive diagnostic equipment, chosen with young patients in mind.  

“This facility will equip SickKids researchers with the tools to better understand the functional changes of childhood diseases and develop therapies that could be translated into improved health outcomes for children across Canada and throughout the world,” says Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids.

The Unit, which has been 10 years in the making, is open to all SickKids clinician-scientists and has been designed to be cost-effective and encourage collaboration among researchers. It will be conducting more than 20 active studies and this number is expected to double in the next year.

“The Physiological Research Unit will capture a synergy of  research,” says Dr. Martin Post, Scientific Director of the Centre for the Study of Complex Childhood Diseases, which includes the Physiological Research Unit. “It gives researchers the opportunity to expand their understanding of a disease which will only enhance their own work.”

The Centre for the Study of Complex Childhood Diseases also features imaging research facilities for animal and human subjects, as well as analytical infrastructure for drug and metabolite analysis of biological fluids.

Funding for the $23.2-million Centre for the Study of Complex Childhood Diseases included $8.2 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation's New Initiatives Fund, $8.2 million from the Ministry of Research and Innovation's Ontario Research Fund, $2.9 million from SickKids and $3.9 million from the private sector.  Ongoing operating support is provided by SickKids Research Institute.

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized child and family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. Follow us on Twitter (@SickKidsNews) and Instagram (@SickKidsToronto).

For more information, please contact:

Matet Nebres
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
email: matet.nebres@sickkids.ca

Suzanne Gold
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 2059
email: suzanne.gold@sickkids.ca