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$2.1 million AIHS Chair awarded to University of Alberta researcher

AIHS Translational Health Chair hopes to save lives by changing the way cancer therapies affect the heart

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

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IMAGE: Gopinath Sutendra hopes to save lives by changing the way cancer therapies affect the heart. view more

Credit: Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions.

Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (AIHS) and the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry are pleased to announce the awarding of the AIHS Translational Health Chair in Cardio-Oncology to University of Alberta alumnus Gopinath Sutendra, PhD. Sutendra, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's Division of Cardiology, is receiving $2.1 million over seven years to study the molecular pathways of cancer therapies that lead to heart complications.

"It's a growing clinical problem as many cancer therapies can cause adverse complications to the heart," says Sutendra. "A subset of patients who are being treated by these therapies experience heart failure, despite responsive tumors. Because of this, patients have to be treated for their heart failure and in some cases also discontinue the cancer therapy."

"My research program is going to look into understanding why these cancer therapies have such a negative effect on the heart, and also try to discover some new and novel translational therapies to prevent this cardiotoxicity. We're going to try to find a way to target these pathways selectively to prevent the toxic effect of cancer therapies in the heart, but still maintain its benefit against cancer."

Sutendra's recruitment as an AIHS Translational Health Chair and assistant professor within the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry brings much needed expertise to Alberta and aligns with the province's strategy for cancer. He uses a collaborative, multidisciplinary and translational approach to cardiovascular and oncology research which includes working with a similar program at the University of Calgary. "The expectation is that the research program will grow and that we generate promising results with therapeutic implications," adds Sutendra. "With these results we can apply for further funding from other agencies--it's of importance to both the cardiology and oncology field--and can bridge the two fields together in terms of therapeutic applications."

"Cancer touches the lives of thousands of Albertans ever year," says Dr. Pamela Valentine, CEO Interim of Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions. "The work being done by Dr. Sutendra is a made-in-Alberta solution to an unmet medical need. His work will lead to a better understanding of cancer drugs and therapies and ultimately improve the health and wellbeing of Albertans."

"Gopinath Sutendra's important work in cardio-oncology is paving the way for cancer therapies with fewer complications," says Richard Fedorak, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "He is a bright example of the next wave of scientists at the University of Alberta working to protect the health of Canadians and others around the world."

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