MCI’s Global Impact: Research & Teaching

Since the 1930s, the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) has been a McGill University teaching hospital. As such, its mandate is three-fold: provide highly specialized patient care, conduct research and train the next generation of doctors, researchers, nurses and allied health professionals. The MCI’s research team has been responsible for a number of exciting medical breakthroughs throughout the years as well.

Looking for Answers: Discovering Treatments and Cures

For close to 45 years, the MCI’s renowned researchers have been leaders in the field of respiratory disease. They seek to better understand the root causes of lung ailments to develop new treatments and find cures. Their ultimate goal is to ease suffering and allow patients to live fuller, longer lives.

As a key part of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, the Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program (RESP) harnesses the tremendous success of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit. They bring together basic, clinical, population health and outcomes researchers in both adult and pediatric medicine.

These research units are closely affiliated with the MCI, which ensures that the latest research findings are translated quickly into new treatments and programs for the benefit of everyone living with a respiratory condition.

Research at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit is centred around four main themes, including:

  • chronic airways disease
  • infection, inflammation and lung injury
  • neuromuscular dysfunction and respiratory diseases
  • sleep disordered breathing

MCI researcher Tong Li working in Dr. Petrof’s lab.

There are 28 MCI affiliated researchers dedicated exclusively to understanding and eradicating respiratory diseases. They are investigating, among other things, treatments and cures for tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, pulmonary rehabilitation and disease management/self-management education, occupational lung disease, gender and lung health and obstructive sleep apnea.

Exciting Breakthroughs

Since 1972, at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories alone, over 2000 original manuscripts have been published by investigators in high quality, peer-reviewed journals. Over 100 chapters have been written in specialty books and a number of books have been authored. Several innovative techniques have been developed over the years which aid in the measurement and diagnosis of human lung disease, e.g., closing volume, mouth occlusion pressure, measurement of diaphragm activity with surface and esophageal electrodes.

MCI affiliated researchers have also established the Brown Norway rat model of extrinsic asthma, have extended the applications of the alveolar capsule technique, have developed software for the 3D reconstruction of cells, and have developed technology to accurately measure the complex physiology of mice. They have also invented a suite of muscle mechanics equipment that includes an in-vitro motility assay, a laser trap assay, and a whole muscle mechanics test apparatus.

Since the 1970s, the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit (RECRU) has made numerous discoveries including:

  • The reduction in lung function, and risks of cancer, associated with various types of asbestos exposure.
  • The prevalence of asthma, and risk factors for its development, based on population samples in Canada and overseas.
  • The correct use and interpretation of diagnostic tests for latent tuberculosis infection.
  • The replacement of bronchoscopy with a simple sputum test to diagnose tuberculosis [this allows for better diagnosis in both high- and low-resource settings e.g. developing countries]
  • The successful use of a new, shorter drug regimen for treatment of latent tuberculosis infection.
  • The development and proof of effectiveness for a patient self-management and rehabilitation program for COPD patients, now used worldwide.
  • The association of proton pump inhibitor use (antiulcer medications) with the development of Clostridium difficile infection.

Help Them Find Solutions

Donations to the Montreal Chest Institute Foundation help fund research into respiratory disease. With your support, the innovative team of world-leading scientists can discover new and improved therapies and eventually eradicate respiratory diseases.

The Montreal Chest Institute is known worldwide for the caliber of its research and teaching. Many MCI alumni have gone on to lead the world’s top respiratory organizations.

Training the Next Generation of Respiratory Specialists and Researchers

The MCI is dedicated to training medical students, residents, fellows and scientists from around the world as well as nurses and allied health students studying health sciences at McGill University. Medical graduates from the four corners of the world vie for the opportunity to further their studies under the tutelage of the MCI affiliated clinicians and researchers. The team at the MCI passes down the knowledge and skills these students will rely on throughout their careers.

MCI trainees go on to become the world’s next generation of health professionals, researchers and leaders caring for patients living with respiratory disease and focused on finding innovative treatments and therapies for tomorrow’s cures.

Each of the world’s top respiratory organizations have been led by physicians who once trained at the Montreal Chest Institute including: the American Thoracic Society, the European Respiratory Society, the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology and the Canadian Thoracic Society. This is a singular achievement and speaks to the caliber of the MCI’s teaching program.

Help us help millions. Donate today.

Hussein Tai, respiratory therapy student from Vanier College.