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Research at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada

Thanks to the dedication of our physicians and researchers, the dream that scientific breakthroughs will give doctors the tools and medicines to cure disease is becoming reality.

Anyone who knows a child born with a congenital bone disorder or challenged by a complex orthopedic or neuromuscular condition understands that hope and healing are inseparable. At Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada, our director of research, René St-Arnaud, Ph.D., leads a team of doctors and scientists as they work to find new ways to heal children with complex orthopedic conditions.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada research department specializes in:

Our physicians and researchers are actively engaged in ongoing research and are continually developing new and innovative ways to treat and care for children. They are pursuing excellence in innovation using an approach that combines scientific research with clinical research. Through collaborations and the use of cutting-edge technology, our team is currently working on:

  • Genetic causes of metabolic bone diseases including the identification of gene mutations that lead to bone disease
  • Target identification and the development of therapeutic technologies for bone regenerative medicine
  • Clinical and applied pediatric orthopedic research including motion analysis research
  • Nursing research including the use of virtual reality to manage procedural pain and anxiety

Working Together to Advance Pediatric Care

Research programs at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada are designed to help give your child access to the most innovative treatment options available for their condition. The Research Centre of Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada is affiliated with McGill University and includes many of our very own physicians, as well as top researchers from around the world.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada research program is an integral part of the system-wide Shriners Children's research program, driven to find cures and treatments that allow us to provide amazing care to children everywhere.

Motion Analysis Research

With a fully equipped state-of-the-art motion analysis center, our researchers at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada are able to collect data that helps our physicians and specialists develop personalized treatment plans for our patients. The staff in our motion analysis center has worked with nearly 870 children since opening in March 2017 and continues to perform more than 350 examinations a year.

The data captured at our facility in Canada is also used as part of our larger system-wide motion analysis research program which aims to provide personalized treatment plans for our own patients while developing innovative treatment options for other children with similar conditions around the world.

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) Research

Lead by Dahan-Oliel, OT, PH.D., our Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) research program is a major project aimed at investigating new and innovative clinical treatment options for children living with this condition. AMC occurs in one in 3,000 births. Reduced movement during fetal development, likely due to genetic and/or environmental factors, is thought to be the primary cause of this condition.

Dr. Dahan-Oliel's team works with patients, their families and other researchers, to collect and centralize data on epidemiology, risk factors, treatment effectiveness and whole-genome information collected from children with AMC. This data is helping us to better understand this rare condition to develop treatments that address the long-term needs of people diagnosed with it.

Funding and Support for our Research Programs

Donations to Shriners Children's allows the organization to maintain a rigorous research grants program, which supports the projects of our investigators. This essential funding, which can be leveraged with extramural support, provides new hope and opportunities for children with arthrogryposis, scoliosis, clubfoot, hip dysplasia, leg length discrepancies, cerebral palsy, osteogenesis imperfecta and other pediatric metabolic bone diseases.

Research Committed to Helping Children and Their Families

Our director of research, René St-Arnaud, Ph.D., and his team of doctors and scientists, are devoted to researching new ways to treat complex pediatric medical conditions. This team is committed to finding treatments to help children live healthy, independent lives and reach their full potential.

Female researchers inside the research lab

Innovation in Pediatric Orthopedics

The motion analysis research being done at Shriners Hospitals for Children Canada is part of a system-wide initiative known as SMACnet. This initiative is dedicated to using cutting-edge technology to provide and continually develop new treatment options to pediatric patients with orthopedic disabilities.

Patient during a motion analysis study

Academic Support to Advance Research

Louis-Nicolas Veilleux, Ph.D., head researcher at our motion analysis research center, is also an adjunct professor with McGill University’s Department of Surgery. The academic support provided by the university contributes significantly to his research projects, helps with access to funding and supports the advancement of his students. One of his current projects involves evaluating the effects of dorsal rhizotomy on bone development and walking patterns.

Review of a motion analysis study inside the motion analysis center

We Understand the Unique Medical Needs of Children

We provide vital, pioneering treatment from birth to age 18. Here, children have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated by doctors recognized as the best by their peers.