$150,000 in grants awarded to six research projects
Vitalité Health Network, April 26, 2023 – Vitalité Health Network, the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation would like to congratulate the researchers who received grants to conduct six research projects ($25,000 each).
The funding for these six projects has been granted under the Programme de financement de la recherche en santé DUO, which aims to make research funds available to facilitate collaborations between researchers and clinicians.
Since last year, the program has been governed by a tripartite contribution agreement including the Vitalité Health Network, the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.
The DUO program’s three partners are pleased to congratulate the following recipients for their health research work:
- Nadia Bouhamdani, PhD, Clinical Specialist, Provincial Medical Genetics Program at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, Dr. Mouna Ben Amor, Medical Geneticist at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, and Dominique Comeau, Clinical Research Consultant at Vitalité Health Network, for their project: Le développement d'outils de génomique fonctionnelle pour l'amélioration des diagnostics des patients du Nouveau-Brunswick.
- Dr. Anick Lang, Internist at Vitalité Health Network, Saïd Mekary, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke, and Tina Emond, Head of Nursing Sciences at the Université de Moncton, for their project: Le rôle d’un programme communautaire d’activité physique auprès des francophones minoritaires du Nouveau-Brunswick : Pouvons-nous adapter le cerveau à l’aide d’activité physique.
- Chad Doucet, Administrative Director of Clinical Services and Professional Practice at Vitalité Health Network, Stéphanie Maillet, Assistant Professor, Department of Administration, Faculty of Administration at the Université de Moncton, and Ann Rhéaume, Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences and Community Services at the Université de Moncton, for their project: L'impact progressif du choc de la réalité professionnelle sur le stress vécu, la santé psychologique et l'intention de quitter des étudiantes infirmières francophones : étude longitudinale mixte.
- Tamika Bergeron, Kinesiologist at Vitalité Health Network, Grant Handrigan, Professor, School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Faculty of Health Sciences and Community Services at the Université de Moncton, Monique Dufour-Doiron, Kinesiologist and Manager at Vitalité Health Network, and Chantal Brun, Professor, School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Faculty of Health Sciences and Community Services at the Université de Moncton, for their project: Évaluation de la validité de construit et de la fiabilité inter-évaluateurs d'une version française du questionnaire ‘Activity-measure for post acute care - 6 clicks (AM-PAC)’.
- Dr. Ludivine Chamard-Witkowski, Neurologist Clinician-Researcher at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, Luc Boudreau, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences at the Université de Moncton, and Gilles Robichaud, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences at the Université de Moncton, for their project: Biomarqueurs sanguins dans le syndrome post-COVID19 : diagnostic, évolution, pronostic.
- Dr. Rodney Ouellette, Medical Director, Molecular Genetics Laboratory at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, Marc Surette, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences at the Université de Moncton, Dr. Alexi Surette, Pathologist at Vitalité Health Network, for their project: Analyse du microenvironnement des tumeurs CPNPC des patients répondeurs et non-répondeurs à l'immunothérapie.
Here are descriptions of the six research projects.
Le développement d'outils de génomique fonctionnelle pour l'amélioration des diagnostics des patients du Nouveau-Brunswick [development of functional genomic tools to improve patient diagnostics in New Brunswick]
Changes to or genetic variants of DNA can lead to the development of diseases. However, the impact of some variants on the development of diseases remains unknown; these genetic variants are called variants of unknown significance (VUS). These VUS may be classed as benign (do not cause disease) or pathogenic (cause disease) and can be confirmed using basic research tools, including cell culture and genetic modification tools. This DUO application is designed to develop tools that will be used for the study and systematic reclassification of VUS. The objectives of this project are as follows: 1) development of a method to generate cellular models from the skin using genetic modification tools; and 2) a proof-of-concept for the tools developed with a clinical case in which the molecular investigation revealed a VUS. This will help show the effective functioning of genetic tools developed using a clinical case involving a patient suspected of having a rare disease. This project will thus bring together skills in clinical and fundamental/biochemical research and improve the diagnosis and care provided to New Brunswick patients and their families.
Le rôle d’un programme communautaire d’activité physique auprès des francophones minoritaires du Nouveau-Brunswick : Pouvons-nous adapter le cerveau à l’aide d’activité physique [the role of a community physical activity program for francophones minorities in New Brunswick: can we adapt the brain using physical activity?]
Compared to anglophones, francophones living in northwestern New Brunswick are more likely to have poorer overall health than people living in primarily anglophone regions. Therefore, sustainable prevention and management strategies in rural areas are needed to address the health disparities between francophone seniors living in rural areas and their anglophone counterparts. Improvement of healthy lifestyle behaviours, such as participating in a regular physical activity program, is generally associated with improvements in physical and cognitive functioning in seniors. A logical focus for rectifying these inequalities is to facilitate the adoption of physical activity among francophone seniors living in northwest regions of New Brunswick. By targeting this behaviour, it is possible to help overcome the health problems faced by francophones living in rural areas. The objectives of this project are as follows: 1) engage partners and community members in developing and delivering a 13-week physical activity program in underserved rural francophone regions; 2) adopt an inclusive approach to encourage and facilitate the engagement of community members from underserved groups who can take part in a physical activity program; and 3) understand the role of a community physical activity program in the physical and cognitive well-being of francophones living in northwestern New Brunswick.
L'impact progressif du choc de la réalité professionnelle sur le stress vécu, la santé psychologique et l'intention de quitter des étudiantes infirmières francophones : étude longitudinale mixte [the progressive impact of professional reality shock on the stress experienced, psychological health and intention of quitting among francophone nursing students: longitudinal mixed study]
The nursing staff shortage in New Brunswick has led Vitalité Health Network to target nursing students as a strategic recruitment group. However, nursing students appear to go through a reality shock when they transition to the workforce, especially during their clinical practicums. Paradoxically, this reality shock is one of the factors that contributes to the high turnover rate of new nurses. Studies suggest that nursing students undergo high levels of stress due to the demanding program of study and difficult clinical practicums. Therefore, the transition to the professional world through clinical practicums may have a negative impact on their psychological health and their intention to continue their nursing program.
This longitudinal mixed method study aims to assess the progressive impact of this reality shock on the stress felt, psychological health and intention to quit among nursing students after their clinical practicum. The study will help Vitalité and the School of Nursing better understand the factors that contribute to the turnover and retention of these future professionals.
Évaluation de la validité de construit et de la fiabilité inter-évaluateurs d'une version française du questionnaire « Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care ‘6 clicks’ » (AM-PAC) [assessment of the construct validity and inter-rater reliability of a French version of the Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care ‘6 clicks’ (AM-PAC)]
Mobility and physical activity are increasingly recognized as fundamental aspects of our daily life that contribute to our health and well-being. Recently, a popular campaign on social media shed light on the need to promote greater mobility among inpatients, which led to the implementation of mobility programs in various health care networks, including Vitalité Health Network. Essentially, the mobility program involves having kinesiologists visit patients in their rooms and encouraging them to do mobility activities such as walking.
The goal of this project is to assess Vitalité Health Network’s mobility program, by focusing on the AM-PAC tool used to measure the current abilities of patients and guide the clinical intervention. The project first involves translating the questionnaire, validating it, and assessing its reliability when administered by kinesiologists, and finally, to study how the mobility program can impact patients’ length of stay in hospital.
In short, the project aims to assess the impact of Vitalité Health Network’s mobility program on patient mobility and physical activity, with the AM-PAC tool serving as a guide for clinical intervention. The project also aims to study the potential impact of the program on patient’s length of stay in hospital, highlighting the importance of promoting mobility in health care facilities.
Biomarqueurs sanguins dans le syndrome post-COVID19 : diagnostic, évolution, prognostic [blood biomarkers in post-COVID-19 syndrome: diagnosis, evolution, prognosis]
Post-COVID-19 syndrome, also known as long COVID, refers to the long-term effects of COVID-19. The symptoms are heterogenous and include fatigue, cognitive problems, anxiety, depression, cough, shortness of breath, digestive symptoms, etc. The diagnosis is difficult to make, because the mechanism is not clear. One possible explanation is low-grade inflammation that persists for a long time after the acute infection, while another hypothesis suggests post-infection neuronal degeneration.
It is necessary to have blood biomarkers to refine the diagnosis, understand the physiopathology and the evolution of this new syndrome, and develop prognostic markers. Therefore, we are proposing an innovative blood test for people with post-COVID-19 syndrome. The objectives of the study are as follows:
- Measure the inflammatory markers, neuronal lysis and microRNA in 50 individuals with post-COVID-19 syndrome in comparison to a control group.
- Follow the evolution of these markers after a 10-week period.
- Correlate these markers with neurocognitive test results and their evolution.
The team is comprised of one neurologist clinician-researcher, two biochemists, one research coordinator, two patient partners, four medical students and support from the research department at Vitalité.
Analyse du microenvironnement des tumeurs CPNPC des patients répondeurs et non-répondeurs à l'immunothérapie [analysis of NSCLC tumour microenvironments in patients responsive and patients unresponsive to immunotherapy]
The immune system normally protects us against cancer, but sometimes immunity is blocked, which allows cancer to grow. Immunotherapy is a new treatment that frees up the immune system to combat the cancer. It has helped successfully treat aggressive cancers for which few therapeutic options were available. However, some patients do not respond to immunotherapy, hence the need to better understand the factors that influence response to treatment.
Extracellular vesicles (EV) released by tumoral and immunity cells can be isolated from patients’ blood and provide information on the tumoral environment. By using blood samples of patients with lung cancer before their treatment, several immunity components strongly correlated with a positive or negative response to immunotherapy were identified in EVs. Among these components, the ALOX5 gene (coding for enzyme 5-LO) plays an important role in immune response.
The authors propose correlating their results on EVs with a study on the tumours of the same patients to better understand the types of immunity cells present in these two groups and what cells produce 5-LO. They think that this will lead to new therapeutic combinations to overcome immunotherapy treatment failure.