Event Calendar

Research Studies

Curious About your Bones?

The Nitrate and Bone Study

The purpose of our research is to determine if nitrates, a group of drugs that are widely available, inexpensive, and commonly used to treat chest pain or angina, can prevent osteoporosis in women. Our current study is based on previous research by our group in which we found that postmenopausal women with chest pain who take nitrates have higher bone mineral density than postmenopausal women not taking nitrates.  Further research by our group revealed that otherwise healthy postmenopausal women given nitrates have less bone breakdown than women not given nitrates.

Why is this study important?
Osteoporosis or “thinning of the bones” affects 1 in 4 Canadian women and 1 in 8 Canadian men.  Moreover, while the rates of osteoporosis among Canadians are stabilizing, worldwide the number of people afflicted with osteoporosis continues to rise. The most serious complication of osteoporosis is a broken bone or fracture. Fractures due to osteoporosis can result in long hospital stays, dependence on others, and premature death.  While there are several medications that prevent osteoporosis they all have side effects.  For example, postmenopausal women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. In addition, drugs to prevent osteoporosis are expensive and not available worldwide. Therefore, it is essential that researchers continue to identify and test new medications for the prevention of osteoporosis.

Who can participate in the Nitrate and Bone study?
You may be eligible if you are…

  • 50+ years of age
  • Postmenopausal (no menses for at least three year)
  • No current use of prescription medications for bone

What can I expect as a participant in the Nitrate and Bone study?

  • To put on nitrate ointment or placebo, depending on your treatment group
  • To take calcium and vitamin D
  • To have 3 Bone Mineral Density Tests and 3 pQCT tests (another test of bone quality; both tests are non-invasive and painless)
  • To provide small samples of blood and urine
  • To answer questions about your medical history and your lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc.) and to answer follow-up questions on a regular basis

Contact Us
For more information please call:
Celeste Hamilton
(416) 323-6400 ext. 4824
Research Coordinator for
Dr. Sophie A. Jamal, MD, PhD, FRCPC
UHN Co-Investigator: Dr. Angela Cheung

[back to top]

Vibrate Your Bones!

Bone Vibration Study.

Are you postmenopausal and worried about osteoporosis? You can help us to find out whether vibration can prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. We are conducting a study that is testing whether standing on a platform that produces very small and fast vibrations for 20 minutes every day for 12 months can reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women.

Bone vibration study is conducted at Postmenopausal Health Research Clinic at Toronto General Hospital. The principal investigator for this study is Dr. Angela Cheung, one of the leading Canadian researchers in osteoporosis.

Why is this study important?
Osteoporosis affects more than 1.4 million Canadians. The proposed research project offers a novel approach to the prevention of osteoporosis that does not involve drug treatments.

Who can participate in the bone vibration study?

  • We are looking for participants living in the Greater Toronto Area. You can participate if you…
  • Are postmenopausal
  • Are generally healthy
  • Do not have osteoporosis
  • Do not take bone medications or hormone replacement therapy

What will I be asked as a participant in the bone vibration study?

  • To stand on a vibrating platform for 20 minutes every day for 12 months or act as a control group and not receive vibration for 12 months
  • To report your medical history and medication use
  • To undergo three different types of tests to measure bone mineral density and strength
  • To report any medical events which occur during the study
  • To complete a physical activity questionnaire

If you are interested in participating, please contact us for further information:
Luba Slatkovska
Study coordinator – Bone vibration study
for Dr. Angela Cheung, MD, PhD, FRCPC(C),
Principle Investigator – Bone vibration study
Director, Postmenopausal Health Research Clinic
Toronto General Hospital
Telephone: 416-340-4800 ext 8601
Email: lslatkov@uhnresearch.ca

[back to top]

Female Volunteers Needed!!

Changes in Breast Tissue Density Study
Researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital are seeking female volunteers to participate in a study to monitor an individual’s breast density changes over time. High breast tissue density is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. The new technique uses a non-ionizing white light to measure breast density. The technique is non-invasive, safe, does not require biopsy, blood sampling or plate compression. Participants will be asked to come in for up to 12 visits, over a three-year period. Visits will be scheduled at approximately three-month intervals. Each visit takes about 30 minutes.

To be eligible for this study you must:

  • Be in good health and able to provide consent
  • Be between 25 and 45 years of age
  • Be pre-menopausal
  • Have not had a full term pregnancy


  • Are planning your first full term pregnancy
  • Have had no breast biopsy
  • Have had no breast augmentation or reduction
  • Are willing to come in to Princess Margaret Hospital for up to 12 visits at intervals of about three months

You will be reimbursed for all parking and TTC expenses for up to 12 visits.

You are free to withdraw from the study at any time.

For more information, please contact Kristina Blackmore at (416) 946-4501 ext. 5891 or Samantha Dick at (416) 946-4501 ext. 4202 or email tibs@uhnres.utoronto.ca.

[back to top]

Help Prevent Breast Cancer!!

The ExCel Breast Cancer Prevention Research Study
Are you worried about breast cancer? Researchers at the University Health Network’s Postmenopausal Women’s Health Research Group are focusing on breast cancer prevention through the ExCel Study.

ExCel is an international multi-centered study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG). This research trial is attempting to determine whether a currently available breast cancer treatment drug can prevent breast disease in women at risk of developing it.

Why is this study important?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Currently, a Canadian woman runs a 1 in 9 risk of developing breast cancer over her lifetime. This study hopes to determine whether this medication may be useful in lowering the risk of developing breast cancer.

Who can participate in the ExCel trial?
You may be eligible if you are…

  • A postmenopausal woman.
  • At risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Are NOT currently taking hormone replacement therapy.

What can I expect as a participant in the ExCel study?

  • To take exemestane or placebo, depending on your treatment group.
  • To visit us 7 times over a five-year period.
  • To provide small samples of blood for tests related to the study.
  • To answer questions about your health history and your health status during the course of the study.
  • To have a yearly clinical breast exam and mammogram.

Contact Us
If you are interested in a free breast cancer risk assessment, or would like some further information on ExCel, please contact:

Irene Ho, Study Nurse Coordinator
Telephone: 416-340-4843
Fax: 416-340-3215
Email: Irene.Ho@uhn.on.ca

[back to top]

Bone Stiffness Study

The purpose of this research study is to determine how well a radiation-free bone stiffness measurement can predict the risk of bone fractures.

Why is this study important?
Bone health is often assessed by bone density, using a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) Scanner. However, other aspects of bone health, such as bone strength may also be used to measure bone health. The Osteoporosis research team is examining a NASA device designed to measure mechanical properties of bone. The mechanical response tissue analyzer (MRTA) may provide more accurate results on properties related to bone strength in the clinical setting, in a way that does not emit radiation.

The MRTA device is being developed for assessment of fracture risk. Essentially, it will measure bone stiffness and bone elasticity, both of which are indicators of bone toughness.

Who can participate

    • Postmenopausal women who have suffered a recent fracture


    • Postmenopausal women who have never had a fracture as an adult


    • Women who are starting treatment with either Evista (Raloxifine) or Fosamax (Alendronate)

Who can not participate

    • Women who have been taking bone altering medications or hormone replacement therapy for more than six months

What can I expect as a participant in the Bone Stiffness study?
If you decide to participate in this research study, your bones will be evaluated by three different painless & non-invasive tests:

  • A bone mineral density scan
  • A heel and forearm ultrasound test
  • A forearm bone stiffness test

Why participate?
All participants will have a bone mineral density scan — the test for diagnosing osteoporosis. Participants will also receive a nutritional assessment to calculate calcium intake.

How can you participate?
Call our study coordinator at the Toronto General Hospital Osteoporosis Program:
(416) 340-4800, ext. 5505.

[back to top]

Early Lung Cancer Screening Study

Date: On-going
Location: Princess Margaret Hospital
The best hope for curing lung cancer is finding it as early as possible. If you are at risk, this new low dose CT (Computed Tomography) scan can detect tiny spots on your lungs years before they would ever be seen on a regular chest x-ray. These tiny spots, or nodules may be signs of early lung cancer.

The Early Lung Cancer Screening Study is seeking participants for the study. The study is quick, simple and most importantly safe to perform on participants. It also provides volunteers a chance to make sure that there are no existing nodules in their lungs.

To be eligible you must be:

  • 55 years or older
  • A current or former smoker of at least one pack per day for 10 years
  • No prior cancer of any types (except non-melanotic skin cancer)
  • Be in good health

The easiest way to participate in the Screening Study is to get in touch with the coordinator, Maureen McGregor, directly. Contact her at (416) 946-4501 ext 6318 or e-mail LungScreening@uhn.on.ca.

For more information, visit www.uhnresearch.ca/lungscreening

[back to top]

Study Investigates Emotional Impact of SARS Quarantine

Date: On-going
Using an anonymous computer survey (www.sarsinput.com), investigators at UHN and Mount Sinai Hospital hope to find out more about how the isolation experience affected people, their psychology and their relationships with family and friends.

[back to top]

The Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa

Date: On-going
This study is a multi-centre international research project supported by the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA. Current research on eating disorders has pointed to evidence that genes play a role in the development of anorexia nervosa. We are currently looking for two members in a family, other than parent-child dyads, who both have anorexia nervosa to participate in our study, which will continue to 2006. Remuneration for participation is provided.

For further information please call Adrianne Hlavenka, Project Manager 416-340-5388 or e-mail adrianne.hlavenka@uhn.on.ca. The principal investigators are Dr. Allan Kaplan and Dr. Blake Woodside.

[back to top]

Study Tests Effects of Respiratory Air Pump on Survival Rates in Heart Failure Patients

Date: On-going
Location: UHN
Sleep apnea, in which breathing stops intermittently during sleep, is associated with congestive heart failure. Headed by Dr. Douglas Bradley, a research team from UHN's Cardio Pulmonary Sleep Disorders and Research Centre is leading a multi-centre clinical trial testing the effects of a respiratory air pump on survival rates in heart failure patients. The respiratory air pump known as CPAP is a mask worn over the face during sleep through which a continuous supply of air under pressure is transmittd to the lungs and heart by an air pump. This study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-University Industry Program.

[back to top]


Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2008
University Health Network 190 Elizabeth Street, Toronto ON M5G 2C4