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Toronto Family's Donation Leads to Naming of Hayden-Devlin Lab at BC's Child & Family Research Institute

Posted on 01/01/2010 12:00am

May 27, 2010 - Vancouver, BC - BC Children's Hospital Foundation and Dr. Michael Hayden, director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) at the Child & Family Research Institute, announced the naming of the Hayden-Devlin Laboratory on May 24, 2010.
Over the past decade, Mr. Dan Devlin and his wife, Mrs. Jill Devlin, have contributed significantly towards Dr. Hayden and his team's research into Huntington disease (HD). The Hayden-Devlin Laboratory is named to honour the memory of Mr. Devlin's parents, Mr. Dan and Mrs. Loretto Devlin, and to recognize their 50-year campaign to defeat Huntington disease.

"This lab has always been far more than just bricks and mortar," said Dan Devlin. "Michael Hayden has devoted his life to this cause and his example has inspired so many wonderful people to put their heart and soul into this fight. It is an amazing place and all Canadians should be extremely proud."

The Devlin's generous donation and support has led to many findings in the Hayden-Devlin lab at the Child & Family Research Institute. "We are deeply grateful and touched by their generosity, commitment and support," said Dr. Hayden. "They believe in what we are doing and feel as passionately as we do about finding prevention and treatment for HD families."

"We would not have been at this phase in our research, planning large international human clinical trials, were it not for the generosity and support we have received from the Devlins," added Mahmoud Pouladi, a doctoral student in the Hayden-Devlin lab.

"The donation and support we receive from the Devlins allows us to focus on the actual research and the treatment rather than on spending a significant amount of our time figuring out how to find funding to do the research," said Dr. Rona Graham, post-doctoral fellow in the HD lab.
BC Children's Hospital Foundation unveiled a plaque at a small gathering with the Devlin and Hayden families and members of the Hayden-Devlin lab present to acknowledge the support of the Devlins and to recognize Dr. Hayden's relentless pursuit in finding a treatment for this disease over the past three decades.

"The outstanding generosity of the Devlin family has been a significant catalyst toward discoveries that will eventually lead to the eradication of this horrible disease, said Sue Carruthers, president and CEO of BC Children's Hospital Foundation. "The Devlins didn't wait for someone out there to find the cure. They became intimately involved in understanding the science being practiced in labs around the world and provided faith and funding to the work being done in BC by Dr. Hayden's lab. We will never thank them enough for the leadership they have shown in the path to a cure."

During the ceremony, Dr. Hayden recognized BCCHF and the Devlins for their role in his journey to find a treatment. "They are active partners with us in this journey, staying up to date on the science, getting excited about our findings and continuing to cheer us on and support us throughout the ebbs and flows of research. This is invaluable."

Huntington disease, a hereditary condition caused by a mutated huntingtin gene that creates a misfolded, and therefore dysfunctional, protein, is an inherited and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that affects about one in 10,000 Canadians. For every affected person there are up to eight people at risk. Symptoms of this disease, including loss of motor control, slurred speech and severe disturbances in cognition and emotional well being, generally begin around the age of 40 and have a major impact on the quality of the life of the affected individual and their family. These symptoms further progress until death, approximately 15-18 years after onset. Much is known about the underlying biology of HD, making it a model rare disease for research and development of therapeutics. Research findings in HD could also provide insights into the causes of illness that have broader implications for many Canadians and worldwide. Already, by studying HD much knowledge has been gained about Alzheimer disease. Furthermore, the development of treatments for HD is likely to have implications for more common disorders such as Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation
BC Children's Hospital is the province's only full-service acute care hospital and serves the one million children living in BC and the Yukon. All children who are seriously ill or injured are referred to Children's Hospital and are either treated at the hospital facility in Vancouver or, with consultation from Children's specialists, in their home community. Last year, more than 72,000 children were treated at Children's Hospital. BC Children's Hospital Foundation received donations from more than 120,000 people last year and had revenues of $56 million. Funds raised by the foundation are used to support BC Children's Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and the Child & Family Research Institute. For more information, visit

The Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics is a synergistic group of scientists and researchers who share a strong sense of commitment to solve the many genetic questions surrounding human illness and well being. Affiliated with the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute, CMMT conducts discovery research and translates that research into effective clinical and therapeutic strategies to promote health. For more information, visit

The Child & Family Research Institute conducts discovery, clinical and applied research to benefit the health of children and families. It is the largest institute of its kind in Western Canada. CFRI works in close partnership with the University of British Columbia, BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre, agencies of the Provincial Health Services Authority, and BC Children's Hospital Foundation. CFRI has additional important relationships with BC's five regional health authorities and with BC academic institutions Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Northern British Columbia, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. For more information, visit

For more information, please contact:
Nicki Kahnamoui
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics
Child & Family Research Institute
at BC Children's Hospital
Tel. (604) 875-2345 ext. 4832