Skip to main content

New hope for children suffering from heart defects

​​Canadian Pacific makes a $1 million gift to fund stem cell research at the CHU Sainte-Justine

​An extraordinary $1 million commitment from Canadian Pacific (CP) towards stem cell research will allow the CHU Sainte-Justine to lead the way in developing new treatments to transform the lives of children suffering from complex congenital heart defects. Currently, there is no treatment available to provide a permanent means of repairing the heart. Today, patients and cardiac experts gathered to recognize the major impact of such strong support for research at the CHU Sainte-Justine, as well as the national importance of research in the development of innovative new stem cell technologies.

Thanks to this exceptional gift, CP is making possible the creation of Quebec's first platform for stem cell research and pediatric regenerative medicine. "These funds will allow us to purchase new equipment and recruit an additional researcher, which will significantly accelerate essential research, namely the identification of the mechanisms that form the heart and the types of intervention that can halt the progression of cardiac illnesses in children," stated Dr. Gregor Andelfinger, pediatric cardiologist at the CHU Sainte-Justine and associate research professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Université de Montréal. "Our aim is to put in place biological factory, capable of producing cardiac tissues from stem cells," he added.

Research remains the best means of understanding, improving the treatment of, and curing congenital heart defects, which are the most commonly occurring birth defects in the world. They affect one in 80 children in Canada every year, many of whom eventually develop fatal heart failure.

"For over a decade, knowledge and understanding about heart defects have grown considerably at the CHU Sainte-Justine, along with the development of new tools for the genetic analysis of families where several family members suffer from a heart defect. Thanks to its team of experts specializing in pediatrics, cardiology, and congenital malformations, the CHU Sainte-Justine is a leader in providing better diagnoses and better targeted therapies to treat congenital heart defects," stated Mr. Fabrice Brunet, CEO of the CHUM-CHU Sainte-Justine.

Ms. Maud Cohen, CEO of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, expressed gratitude for CP's generous support, which provides the hope of regenerating cardiac tissue in babies affected by congenital heart defects. "I am thrilled that the CHU Sainte-Justine is showing such leadership in pediatric regenerative medicine in Quebec, while also increasing our national and international outreach. The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation is very proud to have the support of CP as a major donor to the Healing More Better campaign. Not only does this remarkable $1 million gift allow for the development of new cures to help save the lives of thousands of children suffering from cardiovascular diseases, but it will also serve as a driver for future funding. This support will enable Dr. Andelfinger's team to quickly undertake activities that show promising early results," she said.

"Since 2014, through our CP Has Heart program, we have been committed to making communities stronger and healthier thanks to research, treatment and prevention. With today's announcement, we have now donated nearly $10 million to this important cause" said Mr. Keith Creel, CP's President and CEO. "When we learned that the CHU Sainte-Justine was seeking to accelerate stem cell research, an extremely promising avenue for the repair of congenital heart defects, we immediately felt that it was an initiative we wanted to support. We firmly believe that a partnership with such a renowned institution as the CHU Sainte-Justine to create the first pediatric research platform in Quebec will significantly improve upon current treatments. This will ensure that the thousands of babies born with heart defects every year will have a chance to grow up with healthy hearts and live healthy lives," Mr. Creel concluded.

For CP, this generous support for stem cell research is a way to pursue its mission to improve heart health throughout North America, and is a natural fit with a cause so close to the company's heart.

The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation is grateful for CP's invaluable contribution, which will allow the teams at the CHU Sainte-Justine to continue to heal more children, better. ​

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation

The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation's mission is to engage the community and support the CHU Sainte-Justine in its pursuit of excellence and its commitment to providing children and mothers with one of the highest levels of healthcare in the world, now and in the future.

About the CHU Sainte-Justine

The Sainte-Justine university hospital centre (CHU Sainte-Justine) is the largest mother-child centre in Canada and the second largest pediatric hospital in North America. A member of the Université de Montréal extended network of excellence in health (RUIS), Sainte-Justine has 5,664 employees, including 1,578 nurses and nursing assistants; 1,117 other healthcare professionals; 502 physicians, dentists and pharmacists; 822 residents  and over 200 researchers; 300 volunteers; and 3,400 interns and students in a wide range of disciplines. Sainte-Justine has 484 beds, including 35 at the Centre de réadaptation Marie Enfant (CRME), the only exclusively pediatric rehabilitation centre in Quebec. The World Health Organization has recognized CHU Sainte-Justine as a "health promoting hospital."

About Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP)(NYSE:CP) is a transcontinental railway in Canada and the United States with direct links to eight major ports, including Vancouver and Montreal, providing North American customers a competitive rail service with access to key markets in every corner of the globe. CP is growing with its customers, offering a suite of freight transportation services, logistics solutions and supply chain expertise. Visit to see the rail advantages of CP.

About CP Has Heart

At CP, we know that a railroad may serve as the arteries of a nation, but at its heart is community. That's why, through CP Has Heart, we've already committed nearly $10 million to help improve the heart health of men, women and children across North America. And along the way, we're showing heart whenever we can. Find out more on or @CPhasHeart.



​CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation

Delphine Brodeur

Director, Communication, public relations and donor relations 
514-345-4931, ext. 4356

See all news