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Research and Innovation

Eureka! moments

Leaders in life-changing research.

We try not to call them mavericks but it’s hard not to. The clinician/researchers at Providence Health Care personify the concept of “moonshot” thinking.

Together with their teams, they’re tackling huge, community-wide problems to improve care and outcomes for people across British Columbia and beyond.

  • This is the place where Dr. Julio Montaner discovered how to not die from HIV/AIDS. Today, treatment protocols he introduced have turned HIV from a death sentence to a chronic, manageable disease.
  • It’s where Dr. John Webb pioneered a minimally-invasive way to replace heart valves without open heart surgery. TAVI is now the gold-standard in more than 40 countries. Even Mick Jagger has had the procedure!
  • Where Dr. Steve Mathias recognized the urgent need for youth-specific mental health outreach. His idea became Foundry: a place where young people can drop in and get support for mental wellness, substance use, family dynamics, employment, and social connection all under a single roof. Today, there are 13 Foundry locations in communities across BC with 11 more underway. [1]
  • Where Dr. Marc Deyell is leading the first-in-BC trials of a revolutionary new device to treat patients with atrial fibrillation. This frightening heart condition affects more than 200,000 Canadians and can increase your risk of stroke by 500%.
  • Where Dr. Fariba Mohtashami developed a safer, less invasive way to remove uterine fibroids. Using a minimally-invasive laparoscopic technique (sometimes called keyhole surgery), the majority of large fibroid tumours can be excised without removing the entire uterus.

We’re on the cusp of a golden age in research with the promise of not only treating life-threatening conditions, but discovering how to prevent them in the first place.

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We’re all in

Breakthroughs happen when you have a robust and supportive environment filled with creative, collaborative people and “outside the box” industry partners. That’s why Providence Research is such a powerhouse.

  • We have 250 principal investigators – many of whom are also clinicians – and more than 1,000 additional researchers and staff members.[2]
  • Because St. Paul’s is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, our research is seamlessly integrated with patient care.
  • We have an incredibly deep breadth of research spanning laboratory, clinical, health services, population health, outcomes and prevention, and policy development.
  • We are particularly strong in areas that align with our populations of emphasis: HIV, urban health and addictions, heart and lung diseases, kidney disease, mental health, and specialized needs in aging.
  • In all, our research spans more than 30 programs and disciplines right across Providence Health Care.

It’s no wonder the motto of Providence Research is, “We’re all in.”

For 128 years, discoveries at St. Paul’s Hospital have fundamentally changed our understanding of disease and how we care for patients. Imagine what the next 128 years will bring?

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Right now, teams of scientists at Providence Health Care are in pursuit of some of the world’s most promising research in heart, lung, and critical care diseases. Among their initiatives:

  • Curing sepsis (an infection that kills more people worldwide than cancer or heart disease).
  • Restoring lung function in people with COPD.
  • Investigating a newly-discovered immune pathway, which could slow the progression of ALS.
  • Developing ways to identify and treat the effects of long COVID.
  • Harnessing the promise of regenerative medicine. To cite one example, we are investigating how to restore hearing – not by mitigating the symptoms of hearing loss with hearing aids or cochlear implants, but by repairing the organ of hearing itself.

We are fortunate to have so many creative, tenacious clinicians, researchers, and life science partners. This way, ideas in the lab can move quickly to our patients across British Columbia and beyond.

Your support helps bring better treatments and life-changing discoveries to patients and their families in BC, across Canada, and around the world.

At this bank, deposits and withdrawals are life-changing.

The building blocks of future medical breakthroughs will come from our own bodies: blood, tissue, sputum. So a robust research program starts with a robust biobank.

St. Paul’s has the largest biobank in western Canada, among the world’s largest for heart and lung tissue. Our Lung Tissue Biobank alone has more than 3 million samples. It’s so diverse and holds such promise for treating and curing disease, we share access with researchers from Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic!

Patient partners. Innovative researchers. Robust infrastructure. Generous donors. These are the building blocks of discovery. Your gift brings innovation to life.

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A team member looks at samples in the biobank at St. Paul's Hospital.

What would I say to our donors? Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today!

Dr. Andrew Thamboo

Research Director, St. Paul’s Sinus Centre

Your gift fuels innovation, discovery, and life-changing care.

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