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New Ottawa medical foundation awards first grant

OTTAWA, October 1, 2001 - Cancer researchers in the Nation's Capital are now equipped with the world's first inverted microscope adapted with spectral imaging capability, thanks to a grant from The Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada. The Foundation's inaugural medical research grant was recently awarded to the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI).

Founded in 1998, by the late Dr. Hanni Mach-Gaensslen and the late Vaclav F. Mach, the Foundation has been established to carry out, support and promote research, and to promote academic excellence in the fields of cardiology, oncology and psychiatry in Canada, the United States, Switzerland and other countries.

The Foundation's initial grant, awarded to OHRI researchers Drs.Yvonne Lefebvre and Robert Haché, has funded the purchase of a state-of-the-art microscopy system to track the movement of cell molecules.

"This is the first set-up of its kind in the world," said an enthusiastic Dr. Haché, the OHRI's Program Director for Hormones, Growth and Development. "We have the opportunity to be pioneers in the field. This equipment will allow us to witness events occuring in the cell where we couldn't before. We expect this technological advancement to increase the pace of discovery."

"The Mach-Gaensslen Foundation is pleased to present the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute with funds to purchase specialized medical research equipment and to advance new areas of cancer research", said Foundation president, Dr. Gordon L. D. Watt.

Dr. Lefebvre, Associate Director at the OHRI, is equally passionate about what this new system will mean for cancer research. "This new microscopy system will hopefully lead to discoveries on how cells work that will form the basis for research leading to improved treatments for a whole host of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, lymphoma, and lung cancer," said Dr. Lefebvre, who also serves as Vice-Dean of Research in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Based in Ottawa, the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation is dedicated to promoting and supporting research in cardiology, oncology and psychiatry. 2001 marks the first fully operational year for the Foundation.

While this announcement comes at the beginning of Health Research Awareness Month, the initial research grant was officially awarded in April 2001, before the death of Mr. Mach and ten months after the death of Dr. Hanni Gaensslen-Mach. Mr. Mach, a retired Czech-Canadian industrialist and Dr. Gaensslen-Mach, a retired Swiss physician, were resident in Switzerland at the time of their deaths, and for many years had been frequent visitors to Ottawa.

The recipient of the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation's first grant is the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, which came into existence April 1, 2001, as a result of the unification of the Loeb Health Research Institute and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. The new Institute is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and a major part of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Health Science. Its research programs are grouped into: Cancer Therapeutics, Clinical Epidemiology, Diseases of Aging, Hormones, Growth and Development, Molecular Medicine, Neuroscience, and Vision. With over 100 scientists, 225 students and 400 support staff, and $34 million in external funding, the OHRI is one of the largest and most respected hospital-based research institutes in Canada.


Contact: Ron Vezina, The Ottawa Hospital, (613) 737-8460.

Sharlene Tattersfield, Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada,(613)749-4952.

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