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Calgary researchers first in world to tackle gene therapy, Saskatchewan’s first We Day, Dylan McDermot in Edmonton, and Human Library opens in Winnipeg.

imageCalgary researchers tackle gene therapy

Calgary researchers are making history as the first in the world to conduct a gene therapy clinical trial to find a cure for Fabry disease. Fabry disease is a rare enzyme deficiency disease that affects over 400 Canadians and currently 25 residing in Calgary. It is known to shorten a carrier’s lifespan by up to 40 years.

Toronto is the headquarters for this project, and it was previous promising trial results in mice that were conducted in Dr. Jeffery Medin’s lab at Toronto’s  University Health Network that has prompted to take things to the next level. Despite the location of the headquarters, Calgary scientists will be playing the most major role in this trial.

“The trigger that’s making all this possible is Calgary’s expertise in isolating the specific blood stem cells we need,” says Dr. Medin. “Without a sufficient quantity of those stem cells to work with, our likelihood of success would be greatly reduced.”



shawn-desman-we-day-held-at-air_5922475Shawn Desman, one of the many celebs to be at Saskatoon’s We-Day

We Day, an event that has been known to inspire students abroad since 2007 will be making its first-ever stopover in Saskatoon next month as it is to be hosted at the Credit Union Centre on February 27th.

The real message is to give students a sense of wanting to do good for others and three girls along with some other classmates are off to a pretty good start. A few of these selfless acts for students, Madalyn Powiada, Emmarae Dale, and Nicole Rapin include trick-or-treating food bank donations and collecting pennies to educate a Haitian foster child. For those that aren’t quite there yet, plenty of celebs will be able to help pave the way with inspiration, and some that students can look forward to see will include: hip-hop artist Shawn Desman, and actors Mia Farrow and Martin Sheen.

“I’ve just seen what it’s like on TV, little clips of it, and the response to it is always so positive,” says Rapin, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student. “People come out of there where their lives are literally changed, and their perspective on life can be changed sometimes. It just looks like the most incredible experience.”


Unknown Dylan McDermott in scene from Freezer

Many people across the Prairies may have trouble braving the elements with the current cold snap we are having, but imagine being stuck in a freezer against your will. That is the plot for the new film Freezer being shot in Edmonton, starring Dylan McDermott best known fro his more recent TV roles in Private Practice, and American Horror Story. Deep freeze temperatures are a blessing in disguise for this kind of picture.

“This is free Edmonton cold air,” says film producer David Buelow. He points to the two huge air vent hoses dangling from the ceiling into the top of the set, a cubic construction that looks a bit like a restaurant freezer. “We’re pumping it in.”

And for the ladies who find him dreamy, plot lines might not matter as much when they learn he is shirtless though much of the film, where McDermott has really seemed to embrace the chill.

“It comes with the dinner,” McDermott says. “The movie’s called Freezer — you know what you’re getting into.”



images Human Library open to public in Winnipeg

At an early age, when learning to accept people we are taught not to judge a book by its cover. What a fabulous concept to have a human library where one can read between the lines and learn true life stories, and this is the case at Winnipeg’s Human Library now open to the public.

This will be the second year this three-day event will be held at the Millennium Library, inspiring humans such as Doreen Dumas, who lives with a visual impairment and has advocated to break common prejudices and stereotypes can be checked out.

“I have basically devoted my life to working on behalf of and for persons with disabilities on our First Nations communities,” said Demas. “I also wanted to make sure that other people from my community could have the same experience and the same opportunities I had.”

It begins on Thursday, January 24th  and is open from 5-9 p.m. and continues on through Friday and Saturday from 12-5 p.m.



Chadd Cawson is an intern at Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @ChaddCawson

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