On the eve of World Hepatitis Day, Montreal scientist Naglaa Shoukry is awarded a major grant to head a national network aiming to reduce the spread of hepatitis C in Canada.
In advance of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing $4.5 million in a new national network focused on improving the health of Canadians living with hepatitis C and preventing new infections. The network will be led by Naglaa Shoukry, Principal Scientist at the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM) and Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal, and involve more than 60 researchers, health professionals and partners across the country.
Naglaa Shoukry will be working closely with Julie Bruneau, Principal Scientist at the CRCHUM and Professor at the Université de Montréal, who is a Principal Investigator of the network and will lead the epidemiological research core.
The National Collaborative Hepatitis C Network (NCHCN) was funded through a partnership between Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). It will support innovative and interdisciplinary research and the use of research evidence to enhance patient care. Through the network, Naglaa Shoukry and her team will work to improve prevention strategies, enhance access and adherence to treatment, and better understand the health challenges of Canadians living with hepatitis C.
“Our network is guided by the overall goal of eliminating hepatitis C in Canada. Through a continuous pipeline from discovery to implementation, we intend to reduce transmission of the virus through novel prevention strategies and vaccine development, increase the number of those cured of infection in particular in vulnerable populations through innovative treatment strategies and cascade of care, and improve health outcomes among those living with hepatitis C,” said Naglaa Shoukry, who is Nominated Principal Investigator of the NCHCN.
Other Principal Investigators include Jordan Feld from the Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI) in Toronto, Mel Krajden from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) in Vancouver, Christopher Richardson from Dalhousie University in Halifax, and Tom Wong from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.
It has been estimated that approximately 220,000 people in Canada were living with chronic hepatitis C in 2011 and that nearly half of those individuals may not have been aware they were infected. Viral hepatitis can lead to chronic liver disease which, left untreated, can have serious health consequences including liver failure or cancer.
Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM).