Dr. Garth Warnock Awarded Meritorious Service Medal

Dr. Garth Warnock
Awarded Meritorious Service Medal

In recognition of a huge break-through in diabetes treatment, the Canadian Government awarded Dr. Garth Warnock and his research team a prestigious Meritorious Service Medal (civil division), which distinguishes achievements that bring honour to the country.

With six former colleagues, Dr. Warnock, head of the Department of Surgery at VGH and UBC and co-director of the Ike Barber Human Islet Transplant Laboratory-part of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute-developed a new diabetes treatment internationally known as the Edmonton Protocol. This innovative technique won them one of the 45 Medals presented on April 21, 2005 by the Governor General of Canada.

"Upon learning of this recognition, I was surprised that the Governor General recognized my contributions to diabetes research," said Dr. Warnock. "My deepest sense of satisfaction

comes from knowing that I can work here at VCH with our team to continue to develop this important area of care for more British Columbians and Canadians."

"We are very proud of Dr. Warnock and his continued clinical and research commitments to help advance diabetes treatment, locally and internationally," says Janet Davidson, Chief Operating Officer at Vancouver Acute. "This prestigious recognition is a true testament to the deep impact that his work has on people living with diabetes worldwide."

Drs. Kneteman, Korbutt, Lakey, Rajotte, Ryan, Shapiro's, and Warnock's revolutionary technique consists of injecting healthy pancreatic islet cells into diabetics to restore control of blood glucose without further need for daily insulin injections. The procedure also introduced a new combination of drugs to prevent the body from rejecting the transplanted cells. The advanced treatment pioneered by this team of doctors has received widespread international acclaim and is now being taught by health facilities around the world.

Dr. Warnock, a key investigator at Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), joined VGH and VCHRI in 2001. He and his team at the Ike Barber Human Islet Transplant Laboratory have conducted over a dozen islet cell transplants into patients and are continuing to research and refine the procedure, including discovering new ways to increase the islet cell yield from pancreatic tissue.

"Garth's work is an example of what we all are striving for in the research community at VCH," says Dr. Bernie Bressler, executive director of the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and VP, Research at VCH. "That is, taking a scientific discovery and translating it into improved health and wellbeing for our patient population. We continue to be inspired by him and his work in creating healthier lives through discovery."

For more information about the Edmonton Protocol, please contact Dr. Warnock at gwarnock@interchange.ubc.ca

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