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Brain Cancer Canada Matches Community Fundraising to Support Groundbreaking DIPG Research

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TORONTO, May 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Brain Cancer Canada (BCC), a leading advocate in the fight against brain cancers, is proud to announce a $100,000 research grant awarded to Dr. James T. Rutka, Paediatric Neurosurgeon, and his team at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Dr. Rutka’s research project targets childhood Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a highly aggressive tumour that currently has no effective treatments.

The grant starts with an incredible $50,000 raised by the tireless DIPG community, an amount matched by BCC to support this critical research further.

“DIPG is a devastating disease, taking the lives of our precious children far too soon. The loss for patients and their families is immeasurable, and it touches us deeply,” said Angela Scalisi, Chair of BCC. “From a broader perspective, DIPG also has one of the highest societal burdens of any disease.”

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Dr. Rutka’s early-stage research proposes a novel approach to addressing DIPG. His team will investigate the potential of magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) to improve the delivery of therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier, a significant challenge in treating brain tumours.

“The primary aim of our research is to explore innovative methods to deliver therapeutics more effectively to DIPGs,” Dr. Rutka said. “We are excited that our encouraging pre-clinical studies on DIPG have now been translated into the ‘first in human’ clinical trial for children with this otherwise fatal brain-stem tumour. By combining MRgFUS with patient-specific biologicals, we hope to increase the concentration of active compounds within this brain-stem tumour, potentially influencing tumour growth and survival.”

The DIPG community – patients, caregivers, families and friends of patients, and survivors – has been instrumental in fundraising and raising awareness about this devastating disease.

“We didn’t get enough time with our sweet, beautiful Isabelle,” said Michal and Jackie Borkowski, parents and active members of the DIPG community. “We can’t change what happened to her, but we hope we can help change things for other children fighting DIPG.” The Borkowskis lost their 4-year-old daughter, Isabelle, to DIPG in December 2020.

“This community is a pillar of strength and determination,” said Marc Peeters, Director of the Board of Partnerships and Stakeholders at BCC. “This research serves as a focal point for their efforts, and we stand united in our hope for future progress in DIPG treatment.”

This research grant embodies the tenacity and hope of the DIPG community. We at BCC are thankful for the support offered by all involved, and incredibly grateful for the efforts of the Borkowski, Morissette-Gagne, Ellsworth, Palmowski and Shankar families.

For more information, please contact Brain Cancer Canada or visit www.braincancercanada.ca

Press Contact:
For inquiries, please contact:
Marc Peeters
Director, Partnerships and Stakeholders at Brain Cancer Canada
416-918-6678

 

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Addictions counselling services expanded for Vancouver Islanders

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People struggling with mental health and substance abuse can access up to 12 free counselling sessions per year in a new Island Health program.

Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair, says “This represents a significant expansion and investment in community-based counselling services to improve access to these services on Vancouver Island.”

Virtual Island-wide services will be available through Cognito Health, and Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centre. Services are also available in Port Hardy through North Island Crisis and Counselling Services and in Nanaimo through EHN Outpatient Services and Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society.

The publicly-funded, community-based counselling is intended for people with moderate challenges. The new partnership with Island health will meet the counselling needs of at least 1,500 people per year.

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Access to the counselling services is via referral or self-referral through Island Health Mental Health and Substance Use locations.

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Lyme disease increased across Quebec in 2021: data – CTV News Montreal

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Lyme disease in Quebec was back on the rise in 2021, following a brief slowdown in 2020.

According to data released earlier this week by Quebec’s public health institute (INSPQ), 709 cases of Lyme disease were reported to provincial health authorities as of April 6, 2022. Of those infections, 650 were likely acquired in Quebec, while the rest occurred elsewhere.

The rate of the disease in 2021 was 1.7 times higher than in 2019, the year with the second-highest recorded rate.

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Of the 650 cases of Lyme disease acquired in Quebec, Estrie was again the most affected region. With 452 cases, it accounts for nearly 70 per cent of all infections in Quebec.

Authorities reported 124 cases in Montérégie.

The other regions, including Montreal, reported fewer than 20 cases.

The age group most affected by Lyme disease in Quebec in 2021 was 60-69, followed by 50-59, 40-49 and 70-79.

Lyme is transmitted through the bite of a tick carrying the disease.

The tell-tale symptom in humans is a reddening of the skin. Many with the disease experience fatigue, fever, aches and pains — and if the disease isn’t detected and treated quickly, the bacteria can disperse into the bloodstream, leading to much more uncomfortable symptoms.

According to the Quebec government, milder winters could partly explain the disease’s progression. The warmer climate allows ticks to survive and reproduce more easily.

Lyme disease has been a notifiable disease in Quebec since 2003, meaning doctors and laboratory technicians who detect a case must inform public health authorities. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 9, 2023. 

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Aggressive, ‘drooling profusely’ moose has disease never seen in its species in Alaska – Yahoo Canada Sports

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A moose that was acting aggressively toward people has been diagnosed with rabies, a first for Alaska, according to wildlife officials.

The moose, which was “stumbling, drooling profusely, and had bare patches of skin,” was found acting oddly in Teller on June 2, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in a June 7 news release.

“That moose was being aggressive towards people and charging and getting a little bit too close to comfort for them,” Alaska Wildlife Biologist Sara Germain told KTUU-TV.

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Before the moose’s carcass was burned, wildlife officials said they collected samples for testing, which showed “rabies virus in the brain.”

Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the virus in the moose was infected with was “an Arctic Fox rabies variant,” officials said. The variant stems from a winter rabies outbreak in Nome/Seward Peninsula and North Slope arctic foxes.

Wildlife officials said this suggests the moose contracted the disease from a fox.

“Due to the largely solitary nature of moose, it is very unlikely that any rabies outbreak will occur in the moose population, but isolated cases such as this one occur rarely,” officials said.

While rabies in moose is rare, some of the massive animals have been “diagnosed with rabies in South Dakota, Minnesota, Canada and Russia,” officials said.

The department said as a result of this rabies case that it plans to test “all brain samples from wild mammals found dead or euthanized from regions” known to have fox rabies, to better track the disease.

The public can help by calling the department if they find a dead animal or see any that with signs of rabies, which includes “excessive salivation, abnormal / aggressive behavior, bite marks,” officials said.

Though photos and videos can be helpful, it’s important to avoid contact “with a rabid animal or carcass,” officials said.

Rabies vaccines for dogs and cats is the best protection against the disease in people, according to officials.

“Likewise, preventing pets from interacting with foxes or other wildlife, and not leaving garbage or other attractants accessible to foxes and other wildlife, remain important,” the department said.

If someone is bitten by an animal that may have been exposed to rabies, “immediately wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention,” officials said.

Fox infected with rabies bites 6 people in one night, New York officials say

Rabid bobcat lurking under Jeep attacks 9-year-old, dad says. ‘Tore his shoe off’

Three people exposed to rabid bat in Columbia, health officials say

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