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The Ottawa Hospital Establishes Canada’s First Men’s Health Research Chair

August 30, 2010

Nearly 25,000 men will develop prostate cancer in Canada in 2010, and while surgery and radiation therapy can successfully treat the cancer in many cases, almost all men will be left with problems with either bladder control or more commonly, sexual function.

Over the last five years, The Ottawa Hospital’s Division of Urology has been building a research group dedicated to solving these negative side effects and other men’s health problems, and today, they have reached a major milestone with the establishment of Canada’s first Men’s Health Research Chair.

The $2 million needed to secure this Research Chair was donated by members of the Ottawa community, many of whom have been directly impacted by prostate cancer. Their generosity highlights the commitment they have in ensuring The Ottawa Hospital continues to provide world-class care to its patients for years to come. Lead donors include Greta and John Hansen after whom the Research Chair is being named.

The Chair has been awarded to Dr. Anthony Bella, a world-renowned urologic surgeon and men’s health investigator at The Ottawa Hospital who leads a unique men’s health research laboratory. Dr. Bella is investigating various approaches to reduce the side effects of prostate cancer surgery, such as optimizing recovery with dietary modification and exercise prior to surgery and optimizing the temperature of the surgical area. He is also investigating novel drug therapies to prevent and repair the nerve damage that can occur with surgery and radiation. While these innovations are still being tested in laboratory models, it is expected that testing in patients could begin within the next two years.

“I am very humbled to be awarded the Greta and John Hansen Chair in Men’s Health Research, and very grateful to all the generous people who have donated,” says Dr. Bella. “I get to tell patients every day that there is a good chance we can treat their cancer with a high probability of success. Unfortunately, I also have to tell them that they may never get their full quality of life back. I think we can do better, and this Research Chair will greatly accelerate our progress.”

In addition to his role as a surgeon at The Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Bella is also an Associate Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and an Assistant Professor in Urology at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine.

“We are eager to see the direct impact our research will have on the lives of our patients, and on men around the world,” says Dr. Ron Gerridzen, Professor and Chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Ottawa, and Head of the Division of Urology at The Ottawa Hospital. “Establishing this Research Chair puts Ottawa on the map as an international leader in men’s health research, and this will enable us to continue to recruit the best in the field, so that we can provide our patients with the best care possible.”

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The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the University’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The OHRI includes more than 1,500 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. www.ohri.ca

The Ottawa Hospital is a multi-campus, academic health sciences centre, serving 1.2 million residents of Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, both in English and French. It provides care for more patients than any other hospital in Canada, and boasts specialty centres in cancer, heart, kidney and vision care, as well as rehabilitation services. For more information, visit The Ottawa Hospital Web site at www.ottawahospital.on.ca.

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s mission is to inspire and enable people to support the highest quality health care at The Ottawa Hospital and lifesaving research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. For more information, visit The Ottawa Hospital Foundation Web site at www.ohfoundation.ca.

Media contacts
Jennifer Paterson
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Tel.: 613-798-5555 ext. 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253
jpaterson@ohri.ca

Ingrid Gingras
Media Relations and Marketing Officer
The Ottawa Hospital Foundation
Tel.: 613-798-5555, ext. 18718
Cell: 613-218-1976
igingras@ottawahospital.on.ca