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Kidney Foundation Medal for Research Excellence
Dr. Patrick Parfrey honoured

On Dec. 6 The Kidney Foundation of Canada presented the 2002 Medal for Research Excellence to Dr. Patrick Parfrey, University Research Professor and director of the Patient Research Centre at the Health Care Corporation. This prestigious award is presented each year by the foundation to a Canadian investigator for outstanding research in the area of kidney disease and related conditions.

Described by his peers as "phenomenally productive," Dr. Parfrey has been investigating the causes, risk factors and treatment of kidney disease for more than two decades. His early research was in the area of renal transplantation and his discovery of the adverse effect of certain anti-rejection treatments on patients with hepatitis B who had received a transplant has had direct clinical implication.

He has also made important contributions in the area of genetic renal disease and his research into a rare condition known as Bardet-Biedl syndrome has led to the identification of new genes and an understanding of the role of kidney disease in this syndrome.

Acknowledged as a leading world expert on the subject of cardiac disease in dialysis patients, Dr. Parfrey has been instrumental in focusing the attention of the research community on discovering ways to prevent it and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

Dr. Parfrey's recognition of the potential benefit of multidisciplinary research has given rise to important collaborative studies. His latest project, Canadian Prevention of Renal and Cardiovascular Endpoints (CANPREVENT), involves specialists from across the country who will identify and treat individuals with early state chronic kidney disease using multiple risk factor intervention.

He is also the principal co-investigator at Memorial of a five-year interdisciplinary multi-site study of the causes and impact of colorectal cancer. This study has received major funding over five years from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

In accepting the award from the Kidney Foundation, Dr. Parfrey said that it is an award not just to him but to the teams he works with. "In 1984 I started to develop a team of research nurses and researchers, and it is these people who are recognized today. My support from Memorial University generally has been great."

Dr. Parfrey also had a few comments directed at policy makers. "In Newfoundland we have some unique strategic advantages in researching genetics and health care delivery. But every research project disperses us - we need new physical space so we can work together."

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}