Atlantic Canadian researchers receive drug safety funding
Seven Atlantic Canadian researchers are the recipients of $1.975 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Health Canada Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network (DSEN). The Nova Scotia team is part of a national group, the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES), looking into post-market drug safety and effectiveness.
More than 60 Canadian researchers are involved in the national network. The principal investigator for the Atlantic region is Dr. Adrian Levy, professor and head of Dalhousie's Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, and district chief in the Capital District Health Authority. The Nova Scotia team is comprised of: Drs. Linda Dodds (Dalhousie/IWK); Neil MacKinnon (University of Arizona); Kenneth Rockwood (Dalhousie/Capital Health); Ingrid Sketris (Dalhousie); and Ying Zhang (Acadia University). The principal investigator for the national CNODES project, Dr. Samy Suissa, is based out of Montreal's Jewish General Hospital and the value of the total grant is $17.5 million.
The objectives of the CNODES include:
- Developing a network of collaborating research centres in post-market drug safety and effectiveness research
- Coordinating drug safety and effectiveness research through collaboration among regional centres and using common research protocols
- Building capacity in drug safety and effectiveness research by actively engaging trainees, new investigators, and researchers from complementary disciplines
- Fostering improved sharing of information between researchers and end-users (including provincial policymakers)
The five-year funding for this network is through the CIHR, and amounts to $320,00 per year for the Nova Scotia team, and another $75,000 per year for knowledge translation activities. This initiative is based on administrative health databases, with co-principal-applicants from data centres from British Columbia (UBC); Alberta (University of Calgary); Saskatchewan (Health Quality Council of Saskatchewan); Manitoba (Manitoba Centre for Health Policy); Ontario (Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences); Quebec (McGill and Universite de Montreal) collaborating in this project. Data from the UK General Practice Research Database will also be used.
Canada holds a rich resource in administrative health data, largely residing in provinces and territories. The CNODES offers an opportunity to coordinate access to these data resources and use them to answer significant research questions for the health of Canadians. In the first instance, the CNODES team will be examining issues around drug safety using data from seven provinces.
The DESN is linking centres across Canada, with the aim of improving drug safety and effectiveness for Canadians. The overarching idea behind DSEN is to bring researchers and end-users, such as policymakers, together so that post-market drug research addresses identified knowledge gaps. Two additional DSEN Collaborative Centres structured around other methodologies will be up and running in 2011-12 to further round out the research network.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance knowledge about prescription medications -- by studying both the benefits and risks, for long periods of time, in much broader populations than those included in studies done prior to drugs being brought to market. This knowledge is essential for enhancing the safety and understanding the benefits of medications that Canadians use every day." -- Dr. Adrian Levy, professor and head of Dalhousie's Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, and district chief in the Capital District Health Authority
"The participation of Nova Scotia in a pan-Canadian effort is a testament to the effort of local researchers, and should be a source of pride for everyone in the province." -- Dr. Adrian Levy, professor and head of Dalhousie's Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, and district chief in the Capital District Health Authority
"The CNODES has succeeded in bringing together a pan-Canadian representation of expertise in broad collaboration to address a very important area of research. Such a collaboration will constitute the basis for success of CNODES in filling knowledge gaps of importance to the Canadian health care system. I look forward to working with the CNODES investigators, along with decision-makers, as we seek additional evidence about the balance of benefit and harm of drug products throughout their life-cycle." -- Dr. Robert Peterson, executive director, DSEN, CIHR
- Allison Gerrard, Dalhousie Medical School, 902-494-1789, firstname.lastname@example.org