Arthritis Research Under One Roof in Quebec

Arthritis Research Canada senior scientist, Dr. Paul Fortin, has joined forces with Dr. Éric Boilard of Université Laval to establish a centre for excellence in arthritis research in Quebec.

The Centre ARThrite is located at the Université Laval and brings together researchers, physicians and experts from across different disciplines.

“We realized many people had expertise to advance arthritis research that we were not yet collaborating with,” Fortin said. “Our mission is to do research, produce better protocols and generate more evidence on how to study, treat and understand arthritis.”

The centre merges lab and clinical work to cover the full research spectrum. For example, researchers can ask questions like, “How can we better measure disease activity? How can we prevent inflammation from damaging cartilage?” They can cover the whole spectrum from the molecular level to application in humans.

“Before Centre ARThrite, there was a lot of great research being done in isolated labs but they only had access to cells or animal models. They could not translate what they were doing into humans/real-world practice,” Fortin said. “By linking people and putting them under one roof, we can better our understanding of arthritis and improve quality of care for patients.”

The centre’s mission also involves education and outreach. Students at all levels of their studies – from undergraduate to PhD, residents and post-doctoral – will be involved. Community outreach and education about arthritis will also play an important role.

“Quebec City is different from other parts of Canada where arthritis awareness is higher,” Fortin said. “Here, there are very long wait times for people to be seen. I want to change this. Arthritis is not just something that happens when you get old. We need to get this message out in the community.”

Fortin added that this model gives arthritis research the recognition and importance it deserves in Quebec. The two co-directors plan to grow the centre to include other professionals like psychologists, dermatologists, kinesiologists and more and to develop new tests, treatments and tools for patients with arthritis.

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