Ottawa needs to look no farther now for access to cutting-edge research and clinical trials involving neuromuscular diseases such as ALS or muscular dystrophy. A new game-changing Neuromuscular Centre opens up at The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus.
The centre will be a hub for clinicians and scientists to collaborate and to develop new treatments. Ottawa boasts one of the highest concentrations of neuromuscular researchers in the world, including more than 200 scientists, clinicians, trainees and staff and is widely acknowledged to be an international leader in this field.
“This is exactly the care we’d want for our loved ones,” says Dr. Jodi Warman Chardon, a neurologist and associate scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. “Clinicians working together with scientists – we’ll be unstoppable to better understand disease mechanisms and develop new therapies. The centre will be a game changer and that’s what we need for our patients.”
Dr. Warman Chardon used to take the train regularly to Montreal, and she often saw patients with neuromuscular diseases travelling to take part in clinical trials there that weren’t available in Ottawa. Other patients had to travel farther distances to Toronto, London and even Miami.
“It just humbled me,” says Dr. Warman Chardon. “So many people are desperate to participate in clinical trials. I realized that we needed to offer more therapies and research to our patients, and do so closer to home.”
Research capabilities have been directly built into the centre, including wet labs so they can rapidly analyze blood, skin, and muscle samples.
“The way we have integrated research into neuromuscular care is unique in Canada,” says Dr. Robin Parks, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa who helped establish the centre with Dr. Warman Chardon. “Ottawa is already a world-leader in neuromuscular discovery research and now we have the potential to lead the way in clinical research as well.”
This model of building spaces where clinicians and basic scientists can work together on the cures of tomorrow is part of the vision of The Ottawa Hospital’s new campus.
“The integrated care and research at the new Neuromuscular Centre gives us a glimpse of the cutting-edge health care that a new 21st-century campus will bring to Ottawa and eastern Ontario. Building a world-class centre right here at home means that fewer patients will have to travel for care, and keeps Ottawa at the forefront of patient care and health research,” says Dr. Jack Kitts, president and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital.
The new centre is expected to provide world-class care for about 10,000 people every year with diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), myotonic dystrophy, muscular dystrophy and Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
It was funded by generous donors who supported neuromuscular research at The Ottawa Hospital.
Researchers and clinicians at The Ottawa Hospital’s Neuromuscular Centre are also affiliated with the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Neuromuscular Disease and the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute.