Professor Maryam Tabrizian Receives Collaborative Health Research Project Grant

Multidisciplinary team developing bone-regenerating innovation to treat non-healing bone injuries

Funding from the country’s three federal granting councils—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council— was awarded to Professor Maryam Tabrizian and a multidisciplinary team composed of Professors Reggie Hamdy, Monzur Murshed, Bettina Willie (Shriners Hospitals for Children) and Dr. Vahab Soleimani (Lady Davis Research Institute). With the $767,184 received over three years, the researchers will continue developing an innovative, non-invasive solution for bone regeneration.

At the Université de Montréal, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced the investment of almost $25M for 29 projects across the country. Awarded projects are each leveraging the latest in technology to improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life. Minister Joly made the announcement of behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health.

“Canada is lucky to be home to some of the world’s most innovative thinkers in the health and natural sciences, engineering, and the social sciences,” said Minister Petitpas Taylor. “The Government of Canada is proud to be able to support your work as you push the boundaries of technology in the pursuit of improved health for us all.”

“Collaborative health and biosciences research–with industry, with government, and with patients themselves–accelerates the development and transfer of innovations to improve the health of Canadians," said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “McGill is grateful to the Government of Canada for their investment in this project, which will expand research engagement through meaningful partnerships.”

An expert in regenerative medicine and nano-medicine, Maryam Tabrizian, jointly appointed in Department of Bioengineering in the Faculty of Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Dentistry, will lead the team conducting an ongoing study of critical size bone defects (CSBD), which are non-healing bone injuries. Occurring due to trauma, removal of tumors, developmental anomalies, and infections, standard procedures of care regularly require additional surgical interventions, increasing risk of complications, cost and extended hospital stays. CSBDs account for 150,000 to 200,000 annual hospitalizations in Canada, costing $12 to $18 billion on a yearly basis.

Dr. Tabrizian is pioneering a new therapeutic method for treating CSBDs in the form of an injectable chitosan sponge designed to assist the healing process with only minimal surgical intervention. Biodegrading within a few weeks, the sponge creates a 3-D scaffolding for bone regenerating cells, which do the work of skeletal repair. Initial results using animal models have demonstrated promise for proceeding to clinical trials, with the goal of introducing this innovative therapeutic intervention to clinical practice.

Dr. Tabrizian has previously received CHRP funding (2014-2018) for this work from the Government of Canada and most recently a CIHR Project Grant (2019-2024) for $707,600 to take a step forward in the developing biomaterials for regenerative medicine.