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Dr. Duncan Stewart receives cardiovascular research achievement award

October 27, 2009

Dr. Duncan Stewart was presented with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society's Research Achievement Award at the Society’s 2009 Congress in Edmonton. The following profile appeared in the Awards Booklet:

Translating Molecular Insights into New Clinical Therapies for Cardiovascular Disease

The turning point in Dr. Duncan Stewart’s career was his decision to pursue research. “Medicine is fascinating but there’s no room for creativity in day to day care,” he says. “Research was tremendously exciting because I could ask questions…. Explore…. I could have it all.”

Dr. Stewart focused on the endothelium – the cells that line the inside of blood vessels. He was the first to measure endothelin-1 levels in patients with cardiovascular disease and to note an association with pulmonary hypertension. As a result, patients are now treated with endothelin receptor antagonists, a cornerstone of clinical therapy.

More recently, his work has focused on developing new therapies based on stem and progenitor cells. He is leading the world’s first clinical trial of an engineered cell therapy for pulmonary hypertension and he is about to launch another trial aimed at repairing heart attack damage. He is also developing a novel cell-based therapy that may help prevent vascular lung injuries, which are a major cause of death in people with severe influenza and critical illness.

“I’d like to see some of the things we’ve started come to fruition” he says. “To see a new lease on life for patients who have poor prognosis. Then I could say I’ve done something worthwhile.”

Dr. Stewart is the CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.