POGO proudly announces its current Fellows and their winning projects.
Avram Denburg, MD, MSc, FRCPC, PhD (c)
Project Title: Health technology assessment and paediatric cancer drug funding in Canada
Principal Investigator: Dr. Julia Abelson
Co-Investigators: Dr. Mita Giancomini, Dr. Wendy Ungar, Dr. Mark Greenberg
Project Summary: Drug research, development and policy have historically neglected children. One area of persistent neglect is public policy on funding for pediatric medicines. In most publicly funded health systems, including Canada, decisions about which drugs to cover are made through a formal process called health technology assessment (HTA). This project examines the role and challenges of HTA as applied to children, with a focus on pediatric cancer drugs.
Impact/Relevance: Children are a distinctive test of the social values that influence our choice of health technologies for public coverage. This research will deepen our understanding of the assessment of child health technologies, and generate evidence on the social values that influence this process. Ultimately, such knowledge will help guide policy decisions on which drugs to cover for children and why.
Awarded: Two-year Clinician Scholar Fellowship, 2015
Project Title: Emotional difficulties in survivors of paediatric brain tumors; a neurobiological perspective
Principal Investigator: Dr. Donald Mabbott
Project Summary: This project will focus on emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression experienced by brain tumour survivors, and will relate these difficulties to structural damage in brain regions important for emotions.
Impact/Relevance: Findings from this study could lead to an increase in emotional monitoring and support for survivors of brain tumours. It could also highlight the importance of protecting brain structures that control emotions from cranial radiation. Together, these intervention and preventative strategies could significantly reduce emotional difficulties experienced by children treated with cranial radiation for brain tumours, and ultimately increase their quality of life.
Awarded: Three-year PhD Fellowship, 2015
Moxon-Emre I, Bouffet E, Taylor M, Laperriere N, Sharpe M, Laughlin S et al. Vulnerability of white matter to insult during childhood: evidence from patients treated for medulloblastoma. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. 2016: 1-12.
Project Title: Relative bioavailability of an extemporaneous oral suspension of aprepitant in children
Principal Investigator: Dr. Lee Dupuis
Qualified Investigator: Dr. Paul Nathan
Co-Investigators: Ms. Sue Zupanec, Ms. Jocelyne Volpe, Mr. Scott Walker
Project Summary: Nausea and vomiting are distressing side effects of chemotherapy. Aprepitant is one of the most effective medicines to prevent chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Aprepitant is only available as a capsule. So, children who cannot swallow capsules cannot benefit from this medicine. Pharmacists can use aprepitant capsules to make an oral liquid form of aprepitant. But, we do not know how well this form is absorbed into the bloodstream. This study will compare the absorption of the oral liquid aprepitant to the capsule in children.
Impact/Relevance: If the absorption pattern of oral liquid aprepitant and the capsule are similar, children who cannot swallow capsules and who are receiving chemotherapy will have access to a medicine known to improve control of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Awarded: One-year Clinician Scholar Fellowship, 2016
Project Title: Initiative to Maximize Progress in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Therapy (IMPACT)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nancy Baxter
Co-investigators: Dr. Paul Nathan, Dr. Ronald Barr, Dr. Mark Greenberg, Dr. Jason Pole, Dr. Jonathan Sussman, Dr Rinku Sutradhar, Dr. Abha Gupta
Project Summary: Adolescents with cancer have experienced slower improvements in their chance of survival compared to children or older adults. There has been little research in Canada to explore what factors influence cancer survival in adolescents, and whether the location of their treatment (a pediatric hospital, an adult cancer centre or a community hospital) affects survival.
Impact/Relevance: Our study will create a unique dataset of all adolescents treated for cancer in Ontario over a 19-year period that can be used to address numerous questions regarding adolescent cancer care and outcomes. The results of this study will inform physicians who treat adolescents and have significant implications for policymakers concerned with optimizing outcomes for young Canadians with cancer.
Awarded: Two-year Clinician Scholar Fellowship, 2014