Evangelos Michelakis

Canada Research Chair in Applied Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
University of Alberta
Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Research involves

Research in animals and humans to develop therapies that target mitochondria and metabolism for the treatment of cancer and vascular disease.

Research relevance

This research could lead to the discovery of new therapies that would reverse deadly diseases like cancer and pulmonary hypertension.

Energizing the Fight Against Cancer and Pulmonary Hypertension

A new window needs to be opened on how we approach deadly diseases like cancer and pulmonary hypertension. So says Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, Canada Research Chair in Applied Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine, who is taking a fresh approach to medicine by challenging long-lasting dogmas.

For example, Michelakis has challenged the longstanding belief that the mitochondria (the power centres of the cell) are not involved in the cause of cancer. In fact, he has found that both cancer and pulmonary hypertension are caused by excessive growth of cells in various parts of the body that is caused in part by defects in mitochondria. He has also recently shown that drugs that can reactivate mitochondria can result in the regression of both cancer and pulmonary hypertension, without affecting healthy tissues in the body.

Michelakis is now taking his findings to the next level by performing several early-phase clinical trials aimed at efficiently translating his discoveries to patients. As well, he is studying the use of generic drugs for the treatment of these conditions which, if found effective, would result in major cost savings for governments and taxpayers.

He is also involved in the development of a new training program on the emerging principles of molecular and mitochondrial medicine.

The fresh approach Michelakis is taking to medicine could result in effective and inexpensive treatments for two deadly diseases.