Research Knowledge

Since 2014, OIRM has invested more than $14 million in promising research aimed at answering key questions to advance stem cells towards new treatments and products for the health and economic benefit of Ontarians.

With our help, Ontario’s researchers are delivering results, including:

  • OIRM researcher Lauralyn McIntyre at The Ottawa Hospital published the results of the world’s first clinical trial using mesenchymal stem/stromal cells to treat septic shock, a life-threatening condition that can occur when an infection spreads throughout the body. OIRM is supporting a randomized, multi-site trial to begin in 2018 across Canada. Read about one of the patients in the phase 1 trial. (2017)
  • The Disease Team research of OIRM scientists Michael Laflamme and Gordon Keller, University Health Network, became a foundational part of BlueRock Therapuetics’ initial development. His research, with co-investigator Gordon Keller, is an innovative method to regenerate heart cells after a heart attack, which could substantially increase quality of life and reduce long-term health care costs for patients. OIRM invested more than $2 million in direct research costs. (2016) Read more about this research.
  • OIRM researchers at the Ottawa Hospital, led by Mark Freedman and Harry Atkins, published results of a long-term study showing that aggressive multiple sclerosis can be completely suppressed, and possibly even reversed, with a blood stem cell transplant. Patients who received this treatment experienced a halt to disease progression for a prolonged period of time, without the use of disease-modifying drugs. Read the scientific paper published in The Lancet. Read more about this clinical trial. (2016)
  • An early phase study led by OIRM researcher Harry Atkins at the Ottawa Hospital demonstrated that blood stem cell transplantation led to remission in patients with severe myasthenia gravis, a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease that affects the muscles. Patients experienced consistent, durable, symptom- and treatment-free remission. This study was published in JAMA Neurology. (2016)
  • OIRM investigator Dr. Terry Yau at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto showed that stem cell therapy during coronary artery bypass grafting for heart disease is safe and feasible for improving heart function in patients. This promising advance will now move to larger clinical studies. Published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. (2016)
  • Results of a phase one study led by Dr. Duncan Stewart at the Ottawa Hospital showed safety of genetically-enhanced stem cells as a potential therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension, a severe lung disease. Published in Circulation Rsearch (2015), this study will begin phase two in several centres across Canada in 2018.