UAlberta health research gets strong dose of funding

Study on exercise for people with kidney disease among 30 projects sharing $19.2 million in federal funding.

Determining whether exercise can play a role in improving the quality of life for people with high blood pressure as a result of chronic kidney disease is one of 30 health-related projects to share in $19.2 million the University of Alberta received today in federal funding.

Stephanie Thompson, a UAlberta medical researcher, said patients with chronic kidney disease are managed much like patients with pulmonary or cardiac ailments, but unlike them, no exercise program exists for people with high blood pressure.

"An exercise program is an important intervention that is missing from our toolkit in how we care for patients," she said. "This focus of this project is blood pressure control and really trying to fit exercise into what we are already doing so we can see how it can really benefit patients."

Although exercise is part of the guidelines for treating people with high blood pressure, very few physicians recommend exercise because of a void in the research.

Thompson explained regular exercise is known to lower blood pressure, but because of differences in the causes of high blood pressure in people with chronic kidney disease, it is unclear whether exercise would work in this population. Consequently, exercise is not included in the routine care of people with chronic kidney disease and sedentary behaviour is common.

"Our current standard care is nothing," said Thompson. "We certainly don't have any resources for counselling or providing a means for people to safely exercise."

In her randomized study, 160 people with moderate to severe kidney disease will follow a largely home-based, 24-week exercise regime, supervised by an exercise professional.

"Our findings will be used to show that exercise can improve the care we deliver and will provide the basis for further studies looking at whether exercise can slow the worsening of kidney disease," she said. "We're also going to vigorously monitor their antihypertensives to see if we can actually decrease the number of pills they take, which is important to patients and has potential economic benefit as well."

Amarjeet Sohi, minister of infrastructure and communities, was on campus to make the announcement on behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

After the announcement, Sohi visited with emergency medicine researcher Patrick McLane, whose grant will allow his team to conduct a collaborative study with First Nations partners to find ways of improving the quality of care First Nations peoples receive in emergency departments.

"Health sciences research is the foundation of strong health-care systems and healthy societies," said U of A president David Turpin. "The University of Alberta's health sciences faculty are leaders, discovering vital new knowledge, creating innovative treatments and revolutionizing technologies. This investment is a vote of confidence in their work-the 30 projects funded today will help improve the lives of Albertans, Canadians and people around the world."

UAlberta projects funded

Sean Bagshaw, $1.56 million
Standard versus accelerated initiation of renal replacement therapy in acute kidney injury (STARRT-AKI): A multi-centre, randomized, controlled trial

Sara Davison, $1.17 million
Implementation and evaluation of an innovative integrated conservative (non-dialysis) kidney management (CKM) pathway by primary care across Alberta

Richard Lehner, $1.14 million
Role of a lipid hydrolase TGH in hepatic fat storage and lipoprotein secretion

Joseph Casey, $948,600
Improving corneal endothelial cell adhesion

Dawei Zhang, $883,575
Understanding of the physiological role of membrane-type I matrix metalloproteinase in lipid metabolism

Troy Baldwin, $868,275
Regulation of T cell central tolerance by non-apoptotic mechanisms

Jason Dyck, $784,125
Fatty acid handling and cardiac dysfunction

Richard Wozniak, $772,650
Function of flaviviridae viral RNAs in the host cell nucleus

Rene Jacobs, $761,175
Intestinal phosphatidylcholine synthesis, dietary lipid handling and the metabolic syndrome

Satyabrata Kar, $742,050
Role of lysosomal enzymes cathepsins B and D in neuronal vulnerability: potential implications in Alzheimer's disease pathology

Silvia Pagliardini, $734,400
The "ins" and "outs" of ventilation during sleep: Brainstem co-ordination of active inspiration and expiration

Andrew Mason, $703,800
Pilot study of emtricitabine, tenofovir alafenamide and raltegravir for patients with primary biliary cholangitis

Gavin Oudit, $703,800
Role of PI3Kinase alpha in cardiovascular disease and cardiotoxicity

Peter Light, $688,500
Characterization of a novel light-sensitive signalling pathway in subcutaneous human adipocytes.

Robin Clugston,$679,320
Altered hepatic retinoid homeostasis in the initiation and progression of alcoholic liver disease

Basil Hubbard, $665,550
Identification and pharmacologic activation of SIRT1 substrates

Jaynie Yang, $650,250
Early intensive leg exercise to improve walking in children with spastic diplegia from encephalopathy of prematurity

Richard Thompson, $608,175
Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of pulmonary edema: Application in acute heart failure

Patrick McLane, $554,626
Understanding and defining quality of care in the emergency department with First Nations members in Alberta

Catherine Field, $511,429
Establishing dietary treatment with DHA as part of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer

Hasan Uludag, $504,900
Engineering biomimetic gene activated matrices for bone tissue regeneration

John Seubert, $470,475
Improving mitochondria in aged hearts following ischemic injury with novel epoxy lipids

Candace Nykiforuk, $451,350
Health, prevention, and policy environments (HAPPEN): Investigating policy-maker and public knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about the effectiveness of healthy public policies

Maria Ospina, $378,675
Ehawawisit (With Child): Maternal and perinatal health outcomes among the M├ętis in Alberta and the influence of proximal, intermediate, and distal determinants of health

Rhonda Bell, $294,524
Maternal iron nutrition and its consequences in pregnant women and their children in the Alberta pregnancy outcomes and nutrition (APrON) study

Stephanie Thompson, $290,701
The effect of exercise on hypertension in chronic kidney disease: A randomized controlled trial

Kerry Courneya, $244,800
A phase II randomized controlled trial of exercise in prostate cancer patients undergoing active surveillance: The ERASE trial

Larry Unsworth, $218,025
Delivery platforms for treating perinatal brain injury

Tanya Berry, $110,000
Affective heart disease and physical activity messages for women

Ngan Lam, $100,000
Living kidney donor followup and outcomes: Caring for those who care for others

Todd McMullen, $100,000
Targeting PDGFRa using PET imaging to diagnose metastatic papillary thyroid cancer and improve treatment

Andrea Gruneir, $100,000
Practical approaches to longitudinal monitoring for quality of care near the end of life in nursing home settings