As North York General Hospital (NYGH) continues its focus on research, new and exciting clinical trials are being conducted at the hospital to enhance and transform health care. These trials include those of Dr. Magdy Elkhashab, a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, who is investigating therapies to support liver health.
“Research is essential to advance in gastroenterology knowledge and performing research with NYGH has invaluable benefits,” says Dr. Elkhashab, who is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Toronto, and the Director of the Toronto Liver Centre. “One of the benefits is the breadth of clinical knowledge combined with a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. In addition, having the NYGH Research Ethics Board qualified by Clinical Trials Ontario is a big plus.”
Dr. Elkhashab's passion for gastroenterology and particularly liver research began over two decades ago when he completed his two years of residency in Gastroenterology Fellowship followed by two more years in Hepatology Fellowship at the University of Toronto. For seven years, Dr. Elkhashab worked at Mount Sinai Hospital's Liver Study Unit in Toronto. Dr. Elkhashab established the Toronto Liver Centre in 1996 along with Marzena Magnes, RN, who is the centre's Senior Clinical Research Coordinator. “Marzena Magnes has played and continues to play a major role in the success and growth of the Toronto Liver Centre along with other team members,” says Dr. Elkhashab.
Liver biopsies of participating patients performed at North York General are used for randomized clinical trials at the Toronto Liver Centre. The centre's participation in the Hepatitis C research, for example, contributed to the approval of Hepatitis C drugs we find on the market today, transforming this into a curable disease. “Now that Hepatitis C is a curable disease, our next challenge is focused on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) clinical trials, positioning NYGH as the leader in studying what will be the epidemic of the new millennium,” says Dr. Elkhashab.
This partnership between the hospital and the centre involves a collaboration with Dr. Ryan Margau, Chief and Medical Director, Medical Imaging, and the Interventional Radiology (IR) team of medical imaging nurses, IR technologists and booking clerks. At NYGH, Dr. Margau and the IR team are in charge of performing the liver biopsies and hepatic venous pressure gradient measurement (HVPG) for Dr. Elkhashab's studies. These biopsies and HVPG, are particularly challenging. “Dr. Margau and the IR team acquired the proper training, showing significant commitment and are now exceptional at achieving such a difficult task,” Dr. Elkhashab says.
In addition to the IR team's contribution, Dr. Elkhashab's says his team would find this collaboration difficult without the oversight from the Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs Dr. Donna McRitchie, the Director of Research and Innovation Michael Wood, the Medical Director Dr. Kevin Katz and the Research Ethics Board coordinated by Sunila Kalkar.
“There is a real spirit of innovation at the hospital and people are focused on enhancing patient- and family- centred care,” says Dr. Elkhashab. “Working with a leading community academic hospital such as North York General has been a major asset in conducting research at the Toronto Liver Centre to enhance liver health.” Expanding our clinical trials is part of North York General overall strategy of transforming care. Please visit Clinical Trials for more information.