When cells choose
the wrong time to die
University of Ottawa
In medicine, as in politics, timing is everything. When cells
die prematurely, degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's
and muscular dystrophy can be the consequence; when they linger,
the consequence can be cancer.
The University of Ottawa’s Dr. Alexander MacKenzie
has studied cell death in spinal muscular atrophy –
a fatal inherited form of infantile paralysis. The result
is the discovery of a gene family that has a major impact
on apoptosis – the most common type of natural programmed
cell death. This, in turn, has led to the creation of a biotechnology
company and new therapeutic approaches for a wide range of
disorders. The first product of this endeavour, an agent designed
to treat ovarian cancer, is slated for trial in the new year.
Dr. MacKenzie will talk about these discoveries and the often
indirect path from basic research to new treatments.
Dr. Alexander MacKenzie is a molecular geneticist in the
Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa, an attending
pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
and Director of the hospital's Research Institute. He recently
was appointed Vice President, Research at Genome Canada, the
agency that supports Canadian genomic and proteomic research.
--the Speaker of the Senate, the Hon. Daniel Hays
--the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Hon. Peter Milliken
--Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE)
DATE: Thursday, March 11, 2004 from 7:30 am - 9:00 am