February 04, 2014
Genome British Columbia and Island Health’s research department are “Bringing Genomics Home” to the Victoria community. “When Things Go Wrong with the Brain: Probing our proteins to develop a blood test for early warning signs of stroke” promises to be a lively and engaging presentation by Island Health neurologist and medical lead of the Stroke Rapid Assessment Unit Dr. Andrew Penn on how research is rapidly changing the future of care for stroke.
Members of the media are invited to attend the talk, which begins at 7:00pm on Tuesday, February 4th in the Woodward Room of Begbie Hall (2101 Richmond Road) at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Join the conversation about genomics and how research into our proteins can help develop a blood test for early warning signs of stroke.
Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in Canada and affects more than 50,000 people a year. An equal number of Canadians experience difficult-to-diagnose mini-strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) every year; of these, 5,000 will progress to full-blown stroke, most within a few days. Immediate diagnosis and treatment of TIAs can prevent stroke, but many conditions including migraines can look like mini-strokes, leading to expensive neuroimaging testing and inconclusive results.
Dr. Penn’s research team at Island Health’s Victoria General Hospital and the University of Victoria-Genome BC Proteomics Centre is using state-of-the-art genomics and proteomics technologies to develop a blood test that can diagnose TIA for a fraction of the cost of medical imaging. The test will help physicians decide appropriate next steps in treatment.
“Patients having a heart attack can be diagnosed through a blood test almost immediately,” says Dr. Penn. “With a similar blood test for patients having a TIA, we can prevent 80 strokes every year on Vancouver Island – 4,000 across Canada – through early diagnosis that allows us to give the right patient the right treatment at the right time.”
“We are delighted that Dr. Penn is able to bring his expertise and unique research approach to the people of Victoria,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President & CEO of Genome BC. “Dr. Penn is a knowledgeable ambassador for the power of science and he will offer important insight into stroke and its outcomes.”