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Research + Innovation

Research & Innovation Roundup

by Kris Wallace


St. Paul’s is renowned for its compassionate care. But we are also a research powerhouse. In this regular feature, we’ll look at some of the most exciting made-at-St-Paul’s studies, breakthroughs, and discoveries.


Great news for the 400,000+ people who’ve had a heart valve replaced with the TAVI procedure.

Since 2005, St. Paul’s own Dr. John Webb has been using TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) to replace heart valves. This approach is unique in that it requires only a single, small incision usually in the groin. Without the need for open heart surgery or general anesthesia, many patients are able to go home the same day and resume their normal lives almost immediately.

The results are so transformative, Dr. Webb and his team streams the procedure from St. Paul’s to train doctors around the world. As a result, it has become the gold standard in more than 40 countries. Last year, even Mick Jagger had the operation!

The only real question about the procedure concerned the valves themselves: how long would they last? Using data collected at St. Paul’s for the last 10+ years, a new study has confirmed what Dr. Webb and his patients have long known: that the valves are durable and safe.

This is great news for people who have these near-miraculous valves and for those with heart valve disease. And it’s all because of St. Paul’s trailblazing work to pioneer this life-changing, low-impact procedure.

Biobank expansion

Your donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund are already having an impact.

A few weeks ago, we told you about Dr. Christopher Ryerson, the head of respiratory medicine at St. Paul’s and a principal investigator at our Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). He had just opened a clinic and patient registry for people recovering from lung and respiratory complications of the coronavirus. The goal was to find out why some people recover completely while others suffer severe post-infection complications.

Today, thanks to your generous donations to our COVID-19 Response Fund, Dr. Ryerson has the funding to join forces with other researchers to create an interdisciplinary clinic. Together, they’ll be generating a robust body of COVID research that includes its impact on heart, kidney, neurological, and lung assessments. As Dr. Ryerson says, “If we can triage people to the appropriate care right away, we can stop some of this damage from happening in the first place.”

Building for the future, and beyond

The new St. Paul’s Hospital is poised to become the centrepiece of a research and innovation hub.

The new St. Paul’s Hospital on the Jim Pattison Medical Campus is so much more than the hospital itself. In 2026, the doors will open to both the hospital and a multi-million-dollar research and innovation hub.

Building the hospital and an adjacent health sciences research facility gives us an incredible opportunity to integrate patient care, teaching, and research. It will foster unprecedented collaboration between patients, researchers, clinicians, and industry partners to accelerate the development of new drugs, treatments, and therapies. And will become an engine – a self-sustaining ecosystem – that will bring together talent, business, investment, and research opportunities.

In the words of Fiona Dalton, PHC’s President and CEO, “Right now, researchers and clinicians at St. Paul’s are punching well above their weight. They’re doing incredible work despite the limitations of our crumbling 100-year-old building. Imagine what we can do with a new hospital and a new health innovation hub and research centre?”

We don’t have to imagine. Because in just six years, we will be leading the province, the nation, and the world with our innovation and research capabilities.

Donors like you make it possible for doctors to pursue this life-changing research. Please give today!