Annual Report

2022-2023 Annual Report

Once again, the researchers, students and research professionals at the Centre de recherche du CHUS offer hopeful new discoveries and advancements. Read about them in our annual report.

Discoveries of the year

Are all Ribosomes Created Equal?

The ribosome plays a fundamental role in the translation of messenger RNA from DNA, orchestrating the assembly of proteins vital to human functions. Comprising approximately one hundred proteins, the diverse composition of ribosomes and its correlation with translation activity remain areas of limited understanding.

The study conducted by Sherif Abou Elela’s team demonstrated that adjusting the level of two versions of the ribosomal protein L7/uL30 induces a deceleration in ribosome function and allowed it to continue proliferating in the presence of staurosporine, a cytotoxic agent that has been shown to reduce cancer cell growth. This change results in an increased translation of proteins promoting tolerance to this drug and suggests that sensitivity to certain treatments could be modulated by adjusting ribosome composition.

Giving a Single Anti-Rejection Drug May Improve Survival in Children After Heart Transplantation

Heart transplants in children represent the final recourse for terminal heart disease cases. To avoid rejection, it is common to use a combination of several anti-rejection drugs, albeit with numerous side effects.

Dr. Frédéric Dallaire, Dr. Laurence Watelle and their team analyzed data from transplanted children who were administered only one anti-rejection drug. They used data from the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society, which collects information on children who have undergone heart transplantation across more than 60 hospitals worldwide. Among the 3,493 children monitored over an average of seven years, they noted that nearly one in four children relied solely on one anti-rejection medication, largely to limit side effects. These children did not experience more graft rejection, and their survival rates improved by 35%.

These findings show that transplanted children in whom certain drugs were withdrawn fared comparably, if not better, than those adhering to standard treatment protocols. These findings may lead us to reconsider the way we treat people who have undergone heart transplants.

Automating Large-Scale Production of Gallium-68

The work done as part of a collaboration between radiochemistry experts Samia Ait-Mohand, Sébastien Tremblay and engineer Jean-François Beaudoin has enabled the automated cyclotron-based production of gallium-68 (68Ga). The medical radioisotope is highly sought-after for the formulation of various radiotracers used for diagnosing specific cancers. This technology not only streamlines the production process but also reduces gallium-68 (68Ga) production costs by half, thereby enhancing the accessibility of medical imaging services to individuals across the Eastern Townships and throughout the province. In its inaugural year, the deployment of this innovative tracer facilitated imaging for several hundred patients. This work, supervised by Brigitte Guérin, Dr. Éric Turcotte and Étienne Rousseau, has led to a significant increase in the service offering in thissector.

François Lamontagne’s Team Has Published the Results of the LOVIT Study

The results of the LOVIT (Lessening Organ Dysfunction with VITamin C) multicentre study, led by Dr. François Lamontagne at the CRCHUS and Dr. Neill Adhikari at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The aim of this project was to determine whether high-doses of vitamin C could reduce the risk of death or organ dysfunction in the treatment of patients affected by sepsis, an infection caused by the presence of bacteria in the blood that spreads throughout the body. In the largest study conducted to date, involving 35 intensive care units in Canada, France and New Zealand, the research team demonstrated that vitamin C does not help people with sepsis receiving vasopressor therapy in the intensive care unit, thus calling into question a treatment that had been considered promising.

Study of the French Version of a Voice Recognition Software for People with Multiple Sclerosis

The best psychometric test to measure information processing speed (IPS) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is the SDMT (Symbol Digit Modalities Test). However, this test requires a trained tester, limiting its use in a neurology clinic. Dr. Anthony Feinstein, from the University of Toronto, has developed a version of the fully automated voice recognition test (VR-SDMT) and has asked Dr. Emmanuelle Lapointe’s team to validate a French version. The team translated the software and tested it on 49 people with MS and 29 healthy control participants.

The results of this study on the French version concur with those obtained in the earlier study, and thus confirm the usefulness of voice recognition software in assessing cognition in people with MS. Research nurse coordinator Caroline Cayer and research nursing assistant Caitlyn Bockus are co-authors of this publication.

A Potential New Weapon Against COVID-19

Richard Leduc and Pierre-Luc Boudreault have demonstrated that it is possible to inhibit the entry of SARS-CoV-2 before it can infect cells. They succeeded in designing a molecule, called N-0385, with the ability to block the virus before it enters the cell. This major discovery has been published in the prestigious journal Nature. For the first time, a molecule targeting a human enzyme has proved effective in combating SARS-CoV-2 infection, paving the way for the development of treatments to fight COVID-19.

Annual Reports

Consult also the Fondation du CHUS’ annual report.